NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops announced Friday evening junior receiver Jalen Saunders will play next Friday in the Cotton Bowl Classic against Texas A&M, and senior defensive tackle Stacy McGee will not. Both players were arrested within the past month.
Saunders was pulled over early in the morning on Dec. 2, just hours after his 108 receiving yards helped the Sooners beat TCU and clinch a share of the Big 12 championship. He was arrested with sophomore defensive back Cortez Johnson, and both were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession.
McGee, who was suspended for the first six games of this season for an undisclosed violation of team rules, will not “travel to the game nor participate in any activities related to the game,” according to a statement released by the OU athletic department.
McGee's arrest came early Monday morning; he was charged Wednesday with driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license.
The senior played in all of the Sooners' final six games of the season after being reinstated, recording 14 total tackles and one sack.
McGee was also suspended for the 2011 season opener after being cited for marijuana possession months earlier.
“The information and history in each of the individual matters are unique thus resulting in different participation decisions for this game,” the OU athletic department's statement read.
Saunders transferred from Fresno State in May; the NCAA initially denied his waiver request for immediate eligibility, but reversed the decision on appeal just before Oklahoma's fifth game of the season, a 63-21 rout of archrival Texas on Oct. 13.
The 2011 All-WAC first-team receiver left Fresno State after a coach Pat Hill was fired, and after learning the school is located in an area making him susceptible to San Joaquin Valley Fever, which his father suffers from.
Since gaining his eligibility, Saunders has been one of the Sooners' most dynamic offensive weapons, catching 53 passes for 766 yards and three touchdowns.
In Oklahoma's Oct. 27 loss to current No. 1-ranked Notre Dame, Saunders caught a school-record eight passes in the first quarter alone. Over the Sooners' final three regular-season wins — at West Virginia, against Oklahoma State and at TCU — he hauled in 24 catches for 393 yards and three scores.
In OU's 51-48 Bedlam win, he also returned a punt for a touchdown.
Johnson, who joined to Oklahoma after playing his freshman season at Arizona, is sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.