NORMAN — As East Mississippi plunged through the 2011 football season, toward its junior college national championship, the Lion defense spent its practices lined up opposite one pesky scout-teamer.
Day after day, week after week, Lacoltan Bester would unfailingly hustle onto the practice field, giving East Mississippi's first-team defense a regular challenge. Sometimes, he directed the scout team as quarterback. Other times, he lined up at running back or receiver, his true position.
Bester, who signed a letter of intent in May with Oklahoma, was the Lions' top offensive threat. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wideout made 76 catches for 1,042 yards and 17 touchdowns during East Mississippi's unbeaten season.
That's why Buddy Stephens never became completely comfortable with Bester's frequent and risky scout-team volunteering. It didn't take long for the Lions' coach to accept the truth — he just couldn't keep Bester off the field.
“You always worry about it, but what are you doing to do?” Stephens said. “To him, it was like playing in the sandbox.”
Bester spent the much of this summer in the classroom, completing his requirements to graduate and become academically qualified at OU.
He graduated, is enrolled at OU, according to a search on the university's online directory, and is officially eligible for football, the Rivals website SoonerScoop.com reported Thursday, because junior college transfers don't need NCAA Clearinghouse approval.
Stephens confirmed Bester's academic success Thursday, three days after Sooners coach Bob Stoops said he thought Bester had completed requirements, but was still awaiting final acceptance.
Academic concerns are why OU waited so long to pursue Bester. But after several returning receivers were indefinitely suspended and removed from their scholarships, the Sooners welcomed Bester to campus one May weekend. He signed before leaving Norman.
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