With Marvin Mims gone, who will be the Sooners’ best WR?
NORMAN — As a sophomore in 2021, OU wide receiver Marvin Mims was pretty fickle.
Mims had three games for 100+ yards and a pair of multi-touchdown games, but also had seven games for under 50 receiving yards.
In 2022, Mims found a much greater level of consistency with four games for 100+ yards and just three games for under 50 yards. Two of the latter were games in which Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel was injured.
After 54 catches for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns, Mims reported for the NFL draft.
The Sooners’ receiver room is set to take a major hit as not only Mims but Theo Wease is also lost.
Here’s a look at OU’s wide receiver position going into spring training, which begins Tuesday for the Sooners.
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While Mims was the Sooners’ top receiver, with more than double the mileage as OU’s next-leading receiver and 15 more catches than any of his teammates, outside of Mims’ role things were evenly balanced.
Tight end Brayden Willis had 39 catches for 514 yards and seven touchdowns that led the team.
Drake Stoops continued his ascent with a career-best 39 catches for 393 yards and three touchdowns.
Jalil Farooq and running back Eric Gray also had at least 33 catches.
Wease excelled early in the season with 11 catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns in his first four games.
But after that, Wease’s production suffered a setback. He had just five catches for 60 yards over the next six games before catching three catches and a 123-yard touchdown in the regular-season finals against Texas Tech.
After the end of the regular season, the former five-star prospect announced he would be entering the transfer portal and soon committed to heading to Missouri.
While Mims has been the Sooners’ most enduring producer among receivers, Stoops has also been a stabilizing influence.
He had at least one catch in all but one game and was a particularly strong short-yard target for Gabriel.
After a breakthrough at the Alamo Bowl the year before, Farooq emerged as a sophomore.
Hit’s biggest game came against Iowa State when he had four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
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Who is outside: Brian Darby, Marvin Mims, Theo Wease, Trevon West
Who is there: Andrel Anthony*, Keyon Brown, Jaquaize Pettaway
Farooq is considered the Sooners’ top receiver, having spent much of the season as a second option behind Mims.
Farooq has shown superior speed and generally steady hands.
“We have a lot to prove,” said Farooq. “I have a feeling that a lot of people will doubt us. We’re going to come out and show the world we’re still here.”
While Stoops doesn’t expect to be a much different receiver than last season, he appears to be a stable presence again.
In addition, there is a lot of uncertainty.
Michigan transfer Andrel Anthony has had 19 catches for 328 yards in the last two seasons for the Wolverines.
While the Sooners brought in some highly acclaimed recruits in last year’s class, it eventually became preferred walk-on Gavin Freeman who made the biggest contribution.
Freeman expects he’ll keep getting chances for points, but they need more performance from Jayden Gibson (one catch, 12 yards as a freshman) and Nic Anderson (one catch, five yards).
Two of the more intriguing names in the group are DJ Graham and JJ Hester.
Graham started last season as a cornerback before going on offense.
He didn’t play there as he worked to make the move, but Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and new receiver coach Emmett Jones have expressed excitement at Graham’s offensive potential.
After moving from Missouri, Hester was expected to play a significant role last season before suffering a season-ending injury that limited him to just one catch.
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Jalil Farooq, Jr., 6-1, 203
Drake Stoops, RSr., 5-10, 190
Andrel Anthony, Jr., 6-2, 190
Nic Anderson, RFr., 6-4, 200
Keyon Brown, Fri., 6-3, 188
LV Bunkley-Shelton, RJr., 5-11, 195
Gavin Freeman, Sun., 5-8, 173
Jayden Gibson, Sun., 6-5, 195
DJ Graham, Sr., 6-0, 190
JJ Hester, RJr., 6-4, 200
Jaquaize Pettaway, Fri., 5-11, 170