NORMAN — The NCAA's all-time leading receiver will get his opportunity to play in the NFL.
Regardless of what round Ryan Broyles is selected later this week, the owner of most of Oklahoma's receiving records will attend a training camp in late July.
All the hard work pays off this week. The star receiver that began his career at OU redshirting after a police-blotter incident matured into a high-character leader, something that will benefit him as a pro.
Broyles is projected to be selected in the third round but could go earlier Friday night.
Two months ago he didn't participate in the stop-watch portion of the NFL combine but scored well on the Wonderlic and other areas like bench strength.
“I think I did well in the interviews,” Broyles said. “They know I'm a character guy and won't be bringing any baggage. I'm looking forward to the future.”
His only baggage came when fresh out of Norman High School when he was charged with attempted larceny. Broyles was caught with a key and passcode to override a gas pump at a Norman station.
As punishment, OU coaches forced Broyles to redshirt during his freshman season. He used the year as motivation, eventually setting freshman receiving records. He then hauled in 89 catches his sophomore year, 131 his junior year.
On pace for another 100-plus catch season, Broyles suffered a torn ACL last season against Texas A&M. Just like that his record-breaking collegiate career was over.
Broyles, though, diligently has worked the past five months to take the next step.
He worked out a couple of months in southern California leading up to the NFL Combine in February and has continued his regimen in Norman the past two months.
Returning three weeks earlier than expected to run the 40-yard dash, Broyles eased some concerns with a 4.57-second 40. It was slightly slower than his usual time but solid for a player still rehabbing.
“I ran with no limp,” Broyles said. “My body is healing up. They say it (normally) is eight to nine months to recover. I feel I'm ahead of schedule, being able to cut and run routes after 41/2 months. Hopefully that showed them something...
“I've been in the 4.4s before. My left leg isn't where I wanted to be. But that's not expected right now. I still have to get in the weight room a little bit more.”
His speedy recovery isn't the only things scouts likely noticed.
His production during his four seasons with the Sooners should also carry some clout with NFL executives.
Broyles set OU receiving records so high some records could stand for years.
* 349 catches (all-time NCAA record)
* 4,586 receiving yards (second most in NCAA history)
* 45 touchdown passes
* 11.1 career punt return average which makes him more attractive. Possibly filling a dual role is highly valued. NFL teams are limited to suiting up only 46 players on Sundays.
“He's super intelligent,” said OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, Broyles' position coach his entire career. “That's a quality people don't understand how important it is for a receiver.
“There are a lot of moving parts. The great receivers have that intellect. And his attitude is great. That's part of the whole package that you get. It's not just running fast and having great hands and body control. He has all that, plus the intelligence which is special.”
If Broyles is given a vital role the next three or four years, he might challenge Mark Clayton for most productive former OU receiver in the NFL during the Bob Stoops era.
Clayton (260 catches, 3,448 yards, 14 TDs) far outdistances other ex-OU candidates.
Mark Bradley and Malcolm Kelly were second-round picks but neither has reached 100 career receptions. Given an opportunity Broyles could reach the century mark his second or third season.
Brandon Jones, a third-round pick, is the only other ex-Sooner the past dozen years to surpass 100 catches (see chart).
Broyles' strengths are a high football IQ, superb route running, ability to find seams in a zone defense and his competitiveness.
His thirst for constant improvement was evident when he spent hours picking legendary wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff's brain at the ESPN national awards show a year ago.
His willingness to put in the hard work was evident when he ran a 4.57 earlier than expected.
Broyles is a good example of a young man who learned from his mistake. His OU legacy will last for decades.
“He's not quite 100 percent but he's worked so hard to get himself to this point,” Norvell said. “He's like family. I'm so happy for him. There's no question he has all the skills it takes to be a fine receiver at the next level.”
OU TO NFL
Career NFL statistics and round drafted of Oklahoma wide receivers in the Bob Stoops era.
Player (round drafted) -- Rec. -- Yards -- TDs
Mark Clayton (1) -- 260 -- 3,448 -- 14
Brandon Jones (3) -- 113 -- 1,398 -- 9
Mark Bradley (2) -- 92 -- 1,283 -- 9
Malcolm Kelly (2) -- 28 -- 365 -- 0
Manuel Johnson (7) -- 1 -- 6 -- 0
Juaquin Iglesias (3) -- 0 -- 0 -- 0