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Jason White, Mark Clayton recall their glory days with OU football

BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, Modified: June 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm •  Published: June 23, 2011

NORMAN — Eleven years after they first met in Norman, the quarterback and his favorite receiver still share a special bond.

It started in the weight room and on the practice field, eventually making its way to a national audience.

Now, seven years after their last game together, Jason White and Mark Clayton are together again, back where they started, helping out with Adrian Peterson's youth football camp.

And it gave them a great chance to reflect on their college years.

“We were truly boys and we are really family,” Clayton said of his relationship with White. “We went through a lot of stuff together and have shared some great memories. It is great to reconnect and talk about what is going on in each other's lives.”

And even though those lifestyles are different — Clayton is entering his seventh season in the NFL, barring a lockout, and White is continuing his business ventures in and around Norman — the connection they shared in the early 2000's can never be taken away.

It isn't as much about the stats, although Clayton's 3,241 receiving yards and White's 81 career touchdowns are quite impressive. It is more about the times they spent around each other.

“We did a lot of extra workouts together,” White said. “I would call him around 9 at night and say, ‘Mark, let's go to the gym and throw some,' and he would always be there. Those were the times I won't forget.”

But, Sooner fans will remember the on-field success a little more. Between 2001 and 2004, OU recorded one of the best four-year stretches in school history.

The Sooners won 47 games, compared to just seven losses. And the two leading catalysts were White and Clayton.

In 2003 alone, Jason White threw for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. And Clayton was the beneficiary, catching 83 balls for 1,425 yards and 15 touchdowns.

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