“Them being there definitely took the pressure off me, knowing I had some guys to lean on. That was a 100 percent benefit for us, both on and off the field.”
How huge was it for your position group and the OU offense when Jalen Saunders became eligible?
“Practiced erupted. Compliance came, and usually when compliance comes we’re in some type of trouble, but they show up at practice, and they told coach Stoops that Jalen was cleared.
“He brought Jalen over from the scout team to the offense, and everybody was running around, chest bumping him. The practice really erupted. When Jalen came in, I knew he was gonna be able to make a lot of plays for us, so it was exciting for me to be able to move back outside.”
Was your early-season success inside important in helping you prepare for the next level?
“I think that just shows that I’m capable of being inside or outside. It really helps with the confidence if a team were to ask me to play inside. I had a lot of fun; I learned a lot about the slot position that I didn’t know. I got really comfortable. If a team were to ask me to do that at the next level, I would be a lot more comfortable.”
You’ve been outspoken on Twitter about your opinion that colleges should consider paying athletes. Is that something you think is possible, and do you think it will eventually come?
“I really don’t think I have a say-so in it. Everybody has their opinion; obviously I’m more outspoken that most kid. It’s not really my business. I’m just gonna go out there and play. If things change, they change. I don’t really have any control over it.”
Do you have a favorite NFL team?
“When I was younger, I grew up a Packers fan because my dad played for the Packers. As I got older, I’ve fallen away from it. I’m not a big fan of any team; I’m a fan of players. I’ll choose a team when the game’s on, but I’m not a big follower of any team in particular.”
Are there any players you would like to play with, or train with?
“Just a guy like Larry Fitzgerald. I love the way he handles his business on and off the field. It’d be great for me to get with somebody like that, just so I can learn from them. That’s something I’d love to duplicate, being a professional, and the way that he’s looked at. I’d love to be looked at that way.”
You came to Oklahoma and played with the same quarterback throughout your college career. Would you prefer to land somewhere with an established, veteran quarterback?
“I don’t have any control over that, but either way, it’s gonna work out. I have a positive attitude toward it. I love getting the work in with the quarterback. If it’s a young guy, a rookie like me, we’re gonna do what we have to do to be successful. If it’s a veteran, I’m gonna get underneath his arm and make sure I’m learning all the right things.”
If you aren’t picked in as high a round as you’d like, will that motivate you?
“I would say that regardless of where I’m picked. I’ll always have a chip on my shoulder. I always view myself as an underdog. I don’t care if I’m the first pick or the last pick. I’m gonna have the same attitude going into it because that’s how I was raised. That’s how I view myself.”
Have you and any of your college teammates talked about the possibility of landing on the same NFL team?
“Every once in a while we’ll say something about it, but we know the opportunity of that happening is pretty slim. It would be great to be on the same team with any of these guys. Javon’s out here training with us. Just have a familiar face to have around to laugh and joke with would be awesome, but I know that either way, I’m gonna be finding a new family, a new sort of brotherhood.”
Lots of former Sooners have come out and been critical of the program since the Cotton Bowl. Does that bother you?
“Yes and no. Everybody has their opinion. They’re a different generation of player, and we’re a different generation of player. Some of the things they’ve said, we agree with, and some of them, we disagree with. Everybody has their opinion and they’re entitled to it. Hopefully we’ll see and the program continues to progress.”
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