Austin Haywood, a freshman tight end out of Southmoore High School, is still learning the plays. Still learning how to block. Still learning the speed of the college game.
But one thing he can do well already is catch the ball downfield. Perhaps better than any other Sooner tight end. Which is why he’s likely to see time in OU’s tight end rotation this season.
“He is really good in the passing game,” said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. “He is still learning how to block, and learning who he has. Not necessarily in the run game, but in protection what adjustments he has to make. Those other guys (Trent Ratterree, James Hanna) are a little bit cleaner.
“But as far as running in space and catching, feeling routes and knowing where to settle and catching a football, he is our best tight end.”
Haywood is still making “some errors,” which is natural of a freshman. But Wilson sees similarities with Haywood in former All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham.
“There are some errors that would really haunt us,” Wilson said. ” It is not that he can’t block, but it is just processing and knowing what he is doing. It is harder than you think and it is just hard.
“So, we will work him in and we will keep him moving, but it will be a slight move at a time. Jermaine was kind of like that because we used his catching skills and as we kept going that first year he got more and more involved.
“Austin is not the next Jermaine. But he is a skilled receiver.”