Freshmen ready to make an impact on the field for Sooners
In 2010, OU’s true freshmen stepped up to help bring home the Big 12 Championship. Wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Roy Finch and defensive back Tony Jefferson — now sophomores — all played important roles last season in their first years on campus.
Now, new talent is emerging for the Sooners to help guide OU to a title.
OU coach Bob Stoops isn’t afraid to play true freshmen, as he showed last season, and he is starting to look for those key players.
“I’ll know next week,” Stoops said. “We’re kind of waiting until the end of this week to see for sure on some.”
Stoops has already seen potential from freshman Kameel Jackson.
Jackson, the No. 39 wide receiver in his recruiting class according to ESPN, has impressed the coaches early in his tenure at Oklahoma.
“Jackson looks really solid at receiver,” Stoops said.
Fellow receiver Stills thinks highly of Jackson as well.
“He’s a great receiver who makes a lot of great catches,” Stills said. “He’s physical out there, and he catches pretty much everything that comes to him.”
Stills had 61 receptions and five touchdowns as a freshman in 2010. Stills said Jackson is gaining knowledge playing alongside receivers with NCAA experience, including himself and senior Ryan Broyles.
“It’s huge for him to get to learn all the stuff that he did,” Stills said. “He’s really focused, he knows all his plays and he just comes out every day to practice ready to go.”
Another player who could be poised for a strong freshman season is offensive lineman Nila Kasitati. While he has impressed the coaching staff with his strong play in practice, they still find themselves struggling to learn his name.
“Nila — I don’t know how to say his last name quite yet,” Stoops said. “But Nila, definitely, could be impactful this season.”
Despite the difficulty pronouncing Kasitati’s name (it’s “Cos-uh-tot-tee,” according to SoonerSports.com), the coaching staff sees that he has a great amount of potential.
“He has the ability to grow into a really good player for us,” said Josh Heupel, co-offensive coordinator. “His ability to comprehend and understand what we’re doing will push him forward.”