Cornerback Jamell Fleming shines for Sooners

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: November 12, 2010 at 7:38 am •  Published: November 11, 2010

“Jamell is playing really well,” Stoops said. “You look at all the breakups, defending balls, playing confidently and playing against good people. It's been exciting for me to see him really enjoy the competition and confidence and attitude he's playing with.”

Fleming, a junior from Arlington, Texas, leads the country in a category in which defensive backs are graded: 13 passes defended. He missed the Texas game with a sprained ankle but didn't miss a beat when he returned.

“We always knew Jamell was one of the most athletic guys on the team,” said linebacker Travis Lewis. “He just needed to get it mentally-wise. He's cleaned up his technique and is really playing well. Our corners are playing big-time for us. We just need the rest of us to follow along.”

Fleming learned the hard way that there are no shortcuts to success. Because of academic issues, Fleming took 12 hours at Oklahoma City Community College in 2009, forcing him to miss spring workouts.

When he returned to the OU football program that summer, Fleming was more focused in every aspect.

“It taught me to not take things for granted, that you need to work hard,” Fleming said. “I was so happy to be back.”

Fleming applied that work ethic from the classroom to football, spending hours watching film.

“That's done a lot for me. It gets me prepared,” Fleming said. “I watch how a player gets off the ball, the routes he runs, things like that, including what the quarterback is looking at.”

OU's cornerback play is no longer viewed as a question mark.

“Between Jamell and Demontre (Hurst), and Aaron Colvin coming along, those three guys are playing really well,” Venables said. “With the throwing teams we'll see the next few weeks, it's good to have those guys playing at a high level.

“If we can shore up a couple of other positions, we could play outstanding defense.”

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