Despite losing three of the top four receivers from a year ago, Oklahoma’s receiving corps should be solid in 2022.
Jadon Haselwood is off to Arkansas through the transfer portal while Mario Williams is headed west to USC, and Mike Woods got drafted by the Browns.
The trio combined for 106 receptions for 1,160 yards and 12 touchdowns—one-third of yardage
production in 2021.
Fear not, Sooner fans. Junior Marvin Mims, the best receiver over the past two seasons, will be back. He’s hauled in 69 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 TDs in 24 contests. Joining Mims is Theo Wease, who sat out last year with a leg injury. His 37 catches in 2020 led the team along with Mims, but he had 530 yards and four TDs. Mims had 80 more yards and scored five more times that same year.
Wease, a redshirt junior, is healthy again and will be trouble for opposing secondaries this year. After Lincoln Riley’s departure, he entertained entering the portal but remained in Norman after getting to know head coach Brent Venables.
“That’s my guy,” Wease said of his new coach. “I’m just excited and glad that I’m playing for him now. The rest is gonna be history.”
Jalil Farooq is another promising star who appears to be on the mend after sitting out most of 2021 with a hamstring injury. The sophomore had a breakout game in the Alamo Bowl with 3 receptions for 64 yards—each catch moving the chains. Farooq is also healthy and ready to be a reliable receiver for Dillon Gabriel. Offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said he likes how Farooq attacks off the ball.
“He runs off the ball. He’s incredibly competitive,” Lebby said. “He’s hard on himself. Looking for him to continue to grow and be a big part of it. He’s come prepared every single day. He’s bought in with what we’re doing offensively.”
There was never any doubt that Drake Stoops would enter the transfer portal. He grew up in Norman and is just as tough as his father was as an Iowa Hawkeye. Drake has caught 41 passes for 521 yards and four TDs in a crimson uniform—31 of those receptions the past two seasons. He earned instant hero status when he scored the game-winning touchdown against Texas in 2020.
As a defensive coordinator for Bob Stoops for 13 years, Venables got to see Drake grow up as Stoops encouraged his assistants to bring their children to the Switzer Center for family nights during each season.
Drake said he was best friends with Venables’ sons, Jake and Tyler.
“Grew up together around here,” Stoops said. “Definitely cool to see him (Brent) back around here, and I hadn’t seen him in such a long time—since I was a little kid. Now I’m a grown man. It was definitely cool, and I’m excited to play for him.
“He’s got that fire, passion. He loves the game. He loves his team, whatever team he’s on. It’s really cool to play for him now. It’s definitely a blessing, and I’m excited to see what he can do.”
Juniors Brian Darby and Trevon West provided some depth help last year and should do so again this year.
The Sooners got a shot in the arm when Javian Hester transferred in from Missouri, and LV Bunkley-Shelton transferred from Arizona State. Hester returns to the state as he was a four-star wideout at Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington. He caught 12 passes for 225 yards and two TDs as a redshirt sophomore for the Tigers last year. Bunkley-Shelton had 33 receptions for 418 yards and two TDs as a redshirt freshman for the Sun Devils in 2021.
Jayden Gibson and Nic Anderson both signed out of high school and got a leg up in Lebby’s system by joining the Sooners during the spring semester. Gibson is a four-star product from Winter Garden, Florida, and Anderson is a four-star from Katy, Texas. Gibson caught 3 passes for 113 yards in the Red-White game last month, including a 95-yard touchdown pass from backup QB Micah Bowens. Anderson did not play in the spring finale.
Walk-on freshman Gavin Freeman will be given an opportunity to show his talents and looks to be the Sooners’ next great walk-on.
Mims, Wease, and Stoops are expected to be the leaders in the receiving corps in 2022.
“Right now, the ceiling’s pretty high for the receiver room,” Mims said. “I feel like we have a pretty good group of guys in me, Drake and Theo kind of leading everything, just because we’ve done it for multiple years. And even with Theo being out last year, the things he’s done, you can’t just put that aside.”
“From a unit standpoint, we want guys that can bring other guys along with them, every single day,” Lebby said. “… We’ve got older guys that have some ability to coach other people, and we expect that from those guys every single day. I think the more you do that, the better it is.
Everybody’s got great knowledge of what we’re doing. Being year one, those older guys have
really taken to it and done a good job with it.”
“This system’s not just built to throw to one person every single time,” said receivers’
coach Cale Gundy. “That’s the beauty of it. The ball’s going to be spread around to a lot of