NORMAN — Oklahoma's All-American wide receiver Ryan Broyles sometimes gets a little claustrophobic.
When the Sooners huddle, which is rare in their hurry-up scheme, Broyles keeps his distance from teammates.
Where it really shows is when the Sooners meet in a large group at the end of practice, more than 100 bodies huddled together to hear coach Bob Stoops' speech.
“It's guys touching me when everyone is sweaty and they have their pads on,” Broyles said. “Bigger guys really don't see us and kind of step on us.”
Broyles' fear isn't tight spaces like elevators. It's more of a football thing when teammates stand really close.
“I've got to breathe,” Broyles said. “I'm so small. Everybody else is bigger. And they're sweaty. I'm not cool with that touching.”
Maybe Broyles' slight fear of getting too close to muscular, sweaty football players explains how the hometown star already owns 10 school receiving records.
“Maybe,” Broyles said, laughing, leaning back. “Don't touch me.”
If his senior season is anything like last season, no player at OU will ever touch Broyles' receiving records.
Broyles, 5-foot-10, routinely compiled double-digit reception games last season.
A consensus All-American, a Biletnikoff finalist, Broyles set single-season school records for receptions (131) and receiving yards (1,622). He set the single game record with 15 catches.
“He's the most competitive wide receiver I've ever been around,” Stoops said. “He wanted to come back and have another great year and help us towards a championship.”
Broyles contemplated turning pro.
“I wouldn't say I strongly considered it, but I considered it,” Broyles said. “It didn't feel right for me. My gut said that's not what I was supposed to do. I followed my gut to come to OU, and felt I made a pretty good decision then.”
That decision caused quite a stir in Oklahoma.
Broyles originally committed to Oklahoma State, switched to OU, re-committed to OSU the day before signing day, then flip-flopped back to the Sooners on signing day.
He's prospered at OU. Broyles could compile such gaudy stats, it will be difficult for anyone to duplicate his four-year career.
It's conceivable Broyles could finish his career with 400 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
“I feel if I put up those type numbers they will never be broken,” said Broyles, a former Norman High star. “That means a lot to me. I want to be able to come here and show my kids the stats.
“That's not what you're looking for. The No. 1 goal is to win a national championship. But it shows I was determined to compete at a high level.”
Stoops said Broyles made a wise decision to return for his senior year. Stoops' advice is players should return unless their draft stock is about as high as it can get.
Broyles, though, is taking a risk, turning down an opportunity to make a hefty down payment on a nice house.
“If he gets a little stronger and a little more polished, he can improve and buy a bigger house when he gets to the NFL,” Stoops said. “Sometimes it's just not the right time. He can improve and be more prepared for it when it is the right time.”
Some day after his NFL career is over, Broyles will be invited back to Norman to be honored before a home game. The public address announcer will inform the crowd Broyles is the Sooners' all-time leading receiver. Dignitaries will be on hand.
Someone needs to warn those school officials not to stand too close.
Ryan Broyles OU receiving records
Catches in a game (15)
Catches in a season (131)
Catches in a career (266)
Receiving yards in a game (208)
Receiving yards in a season (1,622)
Receiving yards in a career (3,429)
Touchdown catches in a season (15)
Touchdown catches in a career (35)