Jameel Owens, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver from Muskogee, will go into his senior season regarded as the No. 1 player in the state of Oklahoma. In fact, he will be looked at as one of the top five to 10 receiver prospects in the entire country after playing both wide receiver and emergency quarterback last season.
Owens became a household name in the state of Oklahoma after a great sophomore season when he caught 40 passes for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns. But when he proved he was a great team player by filling in at quarterback when the starter went down, his reputation took a jump.
Now, Owens is being talked about coast-to-coast and while he enjoys the flattery he knows he can't rest on his press clippings.
"It makes me feel like a good athlete, but nothing is possible without working hard," said Owens. "As long as I work at it, I can achieve a lot."
This past season Owens caught 20 passes for 380 yards and 10 touchdowns before moving to quarterback. Owens also played corner in the red zone and nickel back on passing downs.
He was one of the main stars at the OU's Junior Day and he enjoyed grand tour around the Sooner Football Program.
"It was pretty cool," said Owens. "I got to meet some of the recruits that OU brought in and talked to some of the players. I also got to know some of the coaches and they were all pretty nice."
Owens and his teammate, Stacey McGee, and former teammate Dre Stout (Butler CC) also attended the OU Summer Football Camp last summer.
"It was pretty good. We had a lot of fun," said Owens. "I learned a lot of little things about playing receiver at that camp and it helped me a lot last season."
Thanks to summer camp and junior day, Owens is developing a good friendship with Gilmer, Texas runnning back Justin Johnson, who has already committed to OU.
"I think one of my coaches said that he had got my number," said Owens. "Then I met him at the Red River Shootout — the OU/Texas game. That was the first time I met him and we talked and everything. We exchanged numbers and we have been talking ever since."
Owens also had a chance to sit down with head coach Bob Stoops, wide receiver coach Kevin Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson during OU's Junior Day.
"They were telling me about their recruiting and how they had good quarterbacks on the roster," said Owens. "They told me they had just signed one of the elite quarterbacks in the country out Michigan and he is already there and doing well. Coach Stoops was telling me about my chances of playing if I was too go there, and what my chances were of playing my freshman year. He was telling me how I would fit into the system."
Owens is Michael Irvin type of receiver — a guy who has good size and good speed. He is not a track sprinter on the football field, but when you combine his size and athletic ability with his speed, he is usually running free in the secondary.
"I don't have any trouble getting open," said a chuckling Owens. "I like to use my size a lot. I am a bigger, stronger receiver than most of the other receivers and the corners that I usually go against are usually about 5-10 and weigh 175. So I like to use my size and I don't get much man coverage. I run a lot of verticals so I can go up and get the ball and because of my size I usually can get myself into a position where I have the best chance to catch the ball."
Owens admits he is a college football fan, but is he an Oklahoma Sooner college football fan?
"I pretty much grew up an OU fan," said Owens. "I have thought about playing at OU a lot, ever since I got into football really."
However, Owens is not ready to commit to OU or too anybody else for that matter. He has offers from OU, OSU, Tulsa, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Kansas, but he wants to go through the recruiting process.
"I have been to the OU Junior Day and I am going to the OSU Junior Day Saturday," said Owens. "Everybody pretty much has a chance right now. I am not leaning toward any school. I am keeping my options open. I will probably go through the recruiting process. I don't think I am going to commit early. I am not sure I will take five visits, but I am pretty sure I will take a couple."
Owens isn't sure who is going to play for, but he knows what he will be looking for to help him make his decision.
"Where I stand on the depth chart is going to be very important to me," said Owens. "I am going to look at who else they are recruiting and who they are bringing in at quarterback. I also want to know what the receivers in the past have done at each school. I just want to know where I would stand in their system, if I would get any playing time and how I would fit into their program."
The fact that the Sooners have been one of the top programs in the country for receivers the past three years is something that the they will have going for them in their recruitment of Owens.
"That leaves a big impression on me," said Owens. "That stuff is pretty impressive, but OU also has a good running game to go along with their good passing game. OU has put receivers into the NFL the past couple of years and I have to admit that is pretty nice."
Muskogee has made quite a resurgence since Owens, Stacey McGee and company have been with the varsity, and Owens hopes to top it off with a great senior year.
"I feel pretty good about it," said Owens. "Most of us have been playing together since we were younger. Most of us have been playing together since we have been playing young football. We pretty much knew each other going into high school football, so it wasn't to bad getting to know each other and to learn how each one of us plays. I know we are going to work hard this summer and hopefully we can win a state championship."
Owens says he will also return kicks and punts this year for Muskogee.
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