True freshman receivers live up to billing in Spring Game

Theo Wease, Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood and Austin Stogner all flashed a little bit of the skill that earned them top billing out of high school.

The Oklahoma Sooners wrapped up spring ball and did so in style — under the lights. Sure, the talk of the town is Jalen Hurts, aka the latest quarterback to take the reins of Lincoln Riley’s offensive machine, but passing is a two-way street. OU proved it once again has a plethora of options at the receiving positions, and after Friday night’s Spring Game, it appears the star-studded early enrollees are every bit as gifted as their billing suggests.

Beginning with the biggest of the newcomers, TE Austin Stogner is built more in the mold of a Mark Andrews than he is a Grant Calcaterra. At 6’6” and 237 pounds, the Plano product has length for days that is useful both underneath and on the outside. He also has plenty of space to fill out as he matures in the weight room, so playing more physical should only come easier for him as time goes on. Finally, he’s already quite polished as a receiver, which is vital in Oklahoma’s offense.

This first look at the nation’s No. 3 tight end was actually quite nice, and it should definitely leave fans excited for the future of the position. By the night’s end, Stogner recorded three receptions for 41 yards, and I think Owen Field will be seeing a lot more from the young TE sooner rather than later.

Next, WR Trejan Bridges impressed me as much as anybody on either side of the ball. The No. 11-ranked receiver from the class of 2019 looks completely natural on the field, but he combines his instincts with technical precision, making him ready for this level of football.

As you can see from his three receptions in the Spring Game, he doesn’t shy away from the physical side of playing the position. If anything, contact only makes him better. Whether it’s coming back for a pass thrown short, wrestling down a jump ball, or fighting through the muck and churning for extra yards after the catch, Bridges gets it done and doesn’t mind getting a little dirty in the process. On the night, he finished with a total of three catches for 76 yards.

WR Theo Wease also had himself a heck of a night in his debut in front of Sooner Nation. After coming to Norman as the nation’s No. 3 pass-catcher, it’s evident how smooth and almost effortless the game comes to him. Also, at this stage of their young careers, both he and Bridges have shown superb route running ability, which obviously makes any QB’s job exponentially easier.

Most of the defenses Oklahoma will go up against this season will likely provide more resistance than what Wease faced on Friday night, but his ability to simply go up and pluck the ball out of the air is a well-documented part of his game. It was nice to see him take advantage of his wide-open opportunities and score the only two touchdowns by a receiver on the evening. In total, he finished with three receptions for 68 yards and two TDs.

And last but not least, there’s WR Jadon Haselwood, who grabbed OU fans’ attention long before announcing his college decision at the All-American Bowl. The consensus five-star WR out of metro Atlanta had been atop the OU wish list for quite some time, and Sooner Nation has finally had an opportunity to see him display his talent out on the field. Out of all the first-year players, he might have the most diverse skill set to his game: great size, great hands, shifty, physical, ultra-competitive and has serious hops. Did I already mention great size? I suppose I did, but it can’t be stressed enough. I wish we could’ve seen him teamed up with Hurts, who already has a noticeable command of the offense.

At the end of the day, Haselwood finished with two catches for 18 yards. Keep in mind that he was hampered by a minor ankle injury this spring, but fortunately he was still able to get out there and show off a little bit of what he can do.

Now this goes for any of these young receivers in Lincoln Riley’s offense, but if they continue to work as hard as they are talented, postseason honors like the Biletnikoff or Mackey awards are not only attainable, but realistic in due time.

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Source: Crimson and Cream Machine