Brandon Caleb and Adron Tennell are connected by their many commonalities.
Both are wide receivers.
Both were high-profile, 4-star recruits coming out of high school.
Both have battled serious, season-ending injuries.
Both have yet to live up to expectations.
But this season, both Caleb and Tennell will have ample opportunity to produce.
OU’s elder talent at wide receiver has kept Caleb and Tennell on the sidelines as Malcolm Kelly, Juaquin Iglesias and Manny Johnson have enjoyed the majority of the snaps the last three seasons.
Now, with those players gone to the NFL, Tennell and Caleb find themselves being counted on to fulfill major roles.
Said Tennell, “It’s been a while waiting to get on the field. Me and Brandon every time, we know what to do — go out there and ‘eat,’ which means go out there and make plays every time on the field.”
Said Caleb, “Everybody that comes in here wants to play immediately and sometimes there are setbacks. As far as waiting, you have to be patient and realize when you’re presented with an opportunity. I feel like we can come on and make the plays that show the coaches that we’re reliable. You have to know whenever you get the opportunity, you have to make something happen. That’s what we’re hoping to do.”
Other than Ryan Broyles, the Sooners have little experience at receiver. Running back Mossis Madu will see some time in the slot. Jameel Owens and Dejuan Miller are promising, but still young. Junior-college transfer Cameron Kenney, who won’t arrive on campus until June, will need time to learn the system.
That’s why Caleb and Tennell, now the veterans of the receiving corps, are key for OU’s offense.
But to finally contribute, the two have to stay healthy; knee injures have plagued the careers of both players.
Caleb suffered a knee injury in 2007 that caused him to miss nearly the entire season, though he did receive a medical redshirt.
Tennell suffered a torn ACL later that year that he said he just recently overcame mentally.
“It’s definitely been a slow process with the injuries, but when you get back out on the field you have to go out there and act like nothing happened,” Caleb said. “It’s something you never want to have happen but it’s something that comes with the game.”
Due to their commonalities, Caleb and Tennell have become good buddies over the years. Their girlfriends live next door to one another are friends, so even when they’re not on the playing field, the two are around each other.
Now, even though the two will be competing for playing over one another, each is rooting for the other to deliver a breakout season.
“We definitely feel like it’s our time to step up as far as Adron being a senior and myself being a redshirt junior,” Caleb said. “We have the playmaking abilities We’ve been behind a bunch of guys who’ve played a lot of games and made a lot of plays here at Oklahoma.
“Now we see that we have an opportunity.”
By Jake Trotter