Young Receivers Ahead of the Curve

With the loss of Josh Jarboe many fans lamented that OU will be in trouble in the coming years at the receiver position, but those fears look to be a little premature as DeJuan Miller, Jameel Owens, and James Hanna are looking pretty serviceable at this early stage in their careers.

The Freshman receivers all bring a little something different to the table.

DeJuan Miller is a long and lean target that will really surprise people with his quickness and his ability to make a big catches.

Jameel Owens already shows the benefits of the OU strength and conditioning program and he really has developed an early understanding for how to run routes, feel space, and use his body to make catches.

James Hanna is a little bit more stout and could ultimately end up at tight end, but he has continuously been talked up by the offensive coaches for his ability to make things happen whether it is on a tough catch or blocking.

One thing that rings out in unison about all three guys is the fact that they have not only caught the eye of the coaches for their playmaking ability, but for the way that they have worked so far in the first days of fall camp.

Jay Norvell
"I have been pleased," OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell said of the youngsters progress so far. "We have had a good start this week. The biggest thing is we are making them accountable for everything. You got to play when the ball is not in your hands. You have got to run routes hard and you got to block That is part of being a receiver, and a football player."

"I think they are understanding that and taking pride in it. The older guys have worked hard at it. Juaquin has done a good job leading and Manny has done a good job. You do not have to be big to be a good blocker, you just got to want to. I have been proud of their progress so far."

Norvell was quick to point out that these young guys also have the ability to make some things happen in the vertical passing game.

"They are athletic and they have size," the coach explained. "They have good ball skills. They go after the football. That is the most important thing. Receivers are there to make plays and catch the football, and they have done a good job at that."

"They are still not playing all of the way full speed, because they are a little bit unsure, which is understandable because they have only been here one week. They are making strides. We just need to keep pouring reps at them and give them every opportunity to learn."

DeJuan Miller was one of the more highly recruited players that OU signed in 2008, and so far he has lived up to his billing as an elite receiver.

As a matter if fact in the limited time we were allowed to watch practice I could not help but admire his aggressiveness and tenacity going towards the football, and Coach Norvell had some of the same views.

"He has to just try to get his job everyday and do what it is asked of him. He has done that, so far in camp," Norvell began as he broke down Miller's strengths.

"He is so long and he is deceptively fast because he eats up so much grass, and in that respect I have been really excited about him."

"He is a guy that really tries to concentrate and learn the little things. I have been pleased with him so far. He has worked hard this last week and he should just get better the more time he is here."

With the emergence of the freshmen it is easy to see why Norvell is confident with the depth.

"We got about six or seven guys that can play at a high level and that is what we are going to need."

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