NORMAN — Trey Metoyer continues to encounter roadblocks and speed bumps along the road toward his long-anticipated superstardom.
The true freshman and former five-star prospect lost his starting spot and watched his playing time diminish after struggling early in the season.
“He almost wanted to give up, to be honest with you,” said David Metoyer, Trey's father.
Trey Metoyer has admitted feeling that way a few times over the past 17 months, but each time, he leaned on those closest to him for perspective and guidance. This time, a source of strength was Justin Brown, one of Metoyer's new teammates who took some of the playing time that was supposed to be his.
“Trey Metoyer started the year off a highly touted player, big expectations, got a lot of attention,” said OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. “It was amazing to see Justin Brown really come out of nowhere into our program and become a guy that the other players began to look up to, and then become a guy that really gave back to Trey.”
The freshman originally signed as part of Oklahoma's 2011 recruiting class, but he failed to qualify academically. That was the first time thoughts of quitting crept in.
Over the next few months, while toiling through a tough semester at military school, he thought a few times about throwing his hands up in surrender.
Metoyer enrolled at OU in January — almost a full year after first signing — and starred three months later in the Sooners' spring game, continuing to build excitement for what was supposed to be a breakout freshman year.
Late in the summer, though, after the NCAA levied harsh sanctions on Penn State and allowed its players to transfer with immediate eligibility, Brown chose Oklahoma.
Metoyer started the first four games of this season, but struggled to become involved much in the offense.
After the NCAA ruled Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders eligible before OU's fifth game, Metoyer was removed from the starting lineup; he finished the regular season with just 17 catches, 148 yards and one touchdown.
Brown could relate to Metoyer; he played as a true freshman at Penn State and spent three years in a run-first system.
“Justin shared his stories with Trey,” Norvell said. “‘It wasn't always easy for me. I had hard times. There were times when I had to sit the bench. There were times when I had to watch other guys have success.'
“I think Trey's worked his way through it. ... It's very difficult with the attention and the expectations that kids have on them. I've got to give him a lot of credit.”
Norvell said Brown's relationship with Metoyer represents the surest sign of a program that is built for sustained success.
“That's the neat part about a position group, an offense, a defense and a team,” Norvell said. “The older players give back to the younger players, and then they'll do the same thing with the guys that come in next year.”