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Oklahoma football notebook: Jay Norvell says Jalen Saunders is an NFL prospect

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said there's no question that senior receiver Jalen Saunders is a potential NFL prospect, despite his small size.
by Jason Kersey Published: November 30, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders, left, scores on a punt return during OU's  game against Iowa State in Norman. OU won 48-10. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma’s Jalen Saunders, left, scores on a punt return during OU's game against Iowa State in Norman. OU won 48-10. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said there's no question that senior receiver Jalen Saunders is a potential NFL prospect, despite his small size.

Norvell would know; he spent several years in the NFL coaching with the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders. He was on the Raiders' staff when they reached the 2003 Super Bowl with legendary receivers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown on the roster.

“There are a lot of categories,” Norvell said of NFL receivers. “There's a big-guy category. There is a slot receiver category. He's really showing that he can do a lot of things very well as a punt returner and a route runner.

“I think they like his toughness. He's shown that he'll mix it up. We've used him in a lot of situations where you would use a bigger receiver and he goes in there and throws his body around. I'm probably most proud of that from him, how he has been a physical player.”

FARNIOK IMPROVING

Oklahoma sophomore offensive tackle Derek Farniok has always gotten some notice from fans for his 6-foot-9 frame alone, but he's rarely played to this point in his college career.

Farniok got a shot at significant playing time last week at Kansas State, though, when starting tackle Tyrus Thompson left the game injured early in the second half.

“Derek came in and did a good job in an important situation and a big game for us,” said senior center Gabe Ikard. “We'll see how Tyrus is as we go along, but Derek has to be ready to step up.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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