In Shepard, Oklahoma has a reliable, tough and experienced playmaker on an offense lacking them, at least for now.
“He's had a great winter, the way he's worked, pushing other guys,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.
Shepard’s fourth-quarter, 54-yard touchdown reception at Notre Dame last September helped secure Oklahoma’s first victory over the Fighting Irish since 1956. He caught seven passes for 112 yards in the Sooners’ upset at Bedlam rival Oklahoma State, and then scored two touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — in the Sugar Bowl stunner over Alabama.
The latter performance went a bit unheralded, even to Stoops.
“Going back through once we get back from recruiting and studying the game again, wow, he had a huge game,” Stoops said. “A monster game. Just physical. Even some of the bubbles he caught and made three or four yards when there wasn't much there.
“He's going to be a guy we definitely have to really focus on, and find different ways to keep getting him the ball more, which is obvious to everyone. He's been great.”