Every year, I ask Bob Stoops the same question. What player that few people are talking about, that few people have on their radar, has the best chance to make an impact this season? In other words, who’s a really good player that you know about but we don’t.
I call it the Dan Cody Memorial Question. I trotted out that question to Stoops in what must have been 2002 or 2003, and he mentioned Cody, some big guy from Ada we didn’t know much about. Turns out Cody was a defensive end terror.
Here’s what Stoops said this year: “I think some guys that have a chance to have a really good year, like Charles Tapper. Some of our safeties, whether it be Quentin Hayes, or some young guys, Hatari Byrd. D.J. Ward.”
Some irony there. Stoops said that before Ward’s health issue arose – he had surgery Tuesday to remove his spleen, and Ward’s status for the 2013 season is in jeopardy.
But then Stoops threw out one final prospect.
“LaColtan Bester has a chance on offense to be a guy to have a big year,” Stoops said. “Finished the spring looking really strong.”
Bester, a transfer from East Mississippi Community College, had just three catches last season – a six-yarder against Florida A&M, a 10-yarder at Texas Tech and a 13-yarder against Texas. After Jalen Saunders became eligible, Bester didn’t get much playing time.
Saunders, Kenny Stills, Justin Brown. OU had a lot of productive receivers, plus a horde of quality young passcatchers.
Stills and Brown are gone, but it’s still a crowded position. Saunders, Sterling Shepard, Trey Metoyer, Durron Neal, Jaz Reynolds, Derrick Woods. Plus some true freshmen.
Yet Stoops said watch out for Bester.
“LaColtan’s really made a big move,” Stoops said. “Making plays, playing strong, playing really well. Really excited about what he’s doing. He’s going to have an impact for sure.”