NORMAN — Sophomore receiver Trey Metoyer, the star of last year's spring game, will again be a player to watch this year.
Here are four other young Oklahoma players who are turning heads this spring.
Ahmad Thomas, Fr., SS
Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 199-pound strong safety from Miami, is an early enrollee from OU's 2013 signing class.
“He's played in Miami his whole life, so coming up here and playing in Oklahoma's not any big deal to him,” said defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. “He's got the maturity that you don't see in a lot of high school kids his age. He has a physical presence about him. He moves around the field. His instincts take over, and that's what you like to see.”
Cortez Johnson, So., CB
Johnson (6-2, 198) sat out last season after transferring from Arizona, where he started two games and recorded 16 tackles as a true freshman.
Midway through Johnson's freshman year, Mike Stoops was fired as Arizona's coach and replaced on an interim basis by Tim Kish, now OU's linebackers coach.
“Cortez is inconsistent, but that's just part of his inexperience in being off for a year,” said Stoops, who added that Johnson is working with the first team. “He's worked hard and he continues to show signs that he can be relied on every snap.”
Alex Ross, RFr., RB
Ross (6-1, 218) added size and strength during his redshirt season last year, and could earn carries behind seniors Damien Williams and Brennan Clay next year.
“I'm sure sitting out for a year has inspired him to play and pushed him a bit,” Clay said of the former Jenks standout. “He knows it just comes with time. It's all about timing. He's doing a great job. He's listening well in the room. He's watching film.”
Durron Neal, So., WR
Neal (5-11, 201) saw action in nine games last season as a true freshman, finishing the year with four receptions and 62 yards.
The former four-star prospect from St. Louis said lining up against senior corner Aaron Colvin this spring has made him better.
“I feel like I'm progressing well,” Neal said. “Just learning every day from last year. I feel like I'm going against the best corner in the country.”