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Oklahoma football: Jay Norvell uses NFL experience to attract talented receivers

Co-offensive coordinator mentored Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice, and other top wideouts in the pros. He uses that experience to help bring young receivers to OU.
by Jason Kersey Modified: October 16, 2012 at 9:09 pm •  Published: October 16, 2012

“Ryan was a great player and he did a lot of great things here, but I don't know if we've had the depth that we have now at wide receiver,” Jones said.

Along with Stills, Penn State transfer Justin Brown and true freshman Sterling Shepard have stepped in and made immediate impacts.

Other true freshmen — Trey Metoyer and Durron Neal — are also talented and have high ceilings, and junior-college transfer Lacoltan Bester adds to the depth.

And Oklahoma got another big boost when transfer Jalen Saunders was cleared for immediate eligibility before last weekend's 63-21 rout of Texas.

With Fresno State last year, Saunders hauled in 1,065 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He said that, after he'd already decided to transfer, Norvell's NFL experience made Oklahoma more attractive to him.

“I was excited because I'm a big Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison fan,” Saunders said. “I grew up watching them. It was a great opportunity to learn and pick up my game and learn from him.”

And now, Norvell has added another potential recruiting tool to his resume — a book on wide receivers and the skills needed to have success at the position. “Complete Wide Receiver,” will be available in bookstores in late October or early November.

“I would think it would be (helpful in recruiting),” Norvell said of his book. “I've tried to use every experience that I've had to help this program.”

But ultimately, one of Norvell's biggest recruiting assets is his experience at the level those prospects dream of reaching.

“He's been to the league,” Shepard said. “For him to coach the guys that he's coached, I think that attracts a lot of people's eyes.

“He knows what he's talking about.”