Sooner Football Profile: Getting to Know Dede Westbrook


With a new offensive coordinator (Lincoln Riley) and a new Air Raid-style of offense, the Oklahoma Sooners knew they had to have a better and more reliable group of receivers and better production out of them than the Sooners had a year ago. Junior-college transfer Dede Westbrook was one of the players brought in to address that issue and complement the Sooners new look on offense.

A four-star recruit who played a couple of seasons at Blinn (Texas) Community College, Westbrook came to OU rated as the No. 3 wide receiver in the JUCO ranks. He was second in the nation last year with 76 receptions and led all junior-college receivers with 1,487 receiving yards.

Apr 11, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners safety Dede Westbrook (11) reaches for the end zone during the spring football game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Three games into his career at the next college level, at Oklahoma, the 6-foot, 168-pound receiver doing exactly what the Sooners’ coaches had hoped he would when they recruited him. Westbrook has a dozen receptions in three games for 175 receiving yards and a touchdown, second best on the team next to Sterling Shepard’s 18 catches for 286 yards.

Asked how the transition into Big 12 football has been for him, Westbrook told ESPN staff writer Brandon Chatmon: “I’m stressing with myself to trust the system, to know what coach Riley, coach (Dennis) Simmons and coach (Cale) Gundy are teaching us is going to work out and be beneficial. You trust in that, you know. I’m buying into (it) at this point.”

Part of that trust comes from his relationship with Sooner starting quarterback Baker Mayfield, which is an important reason why Westbrook feels good about where he is right now.

“I trust Baker all the way,” Westbrook said in his recent interview with ESPN’s Chatmon.

"“To me, Baker, on the field, is just like Johnny Manziel. The way he expands plays with his feet but keeps his eyes down field…. He’s one of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen. We’re pretty much on the same page. I know exactly what he’s doing and when he is doing it.”"

The Sooners weren’t the only suitor for Westbrook’s receiving talent. Three other Big 12 schools also would have delighted in having him on the roster. He received offers to play at the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) level from Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Arizona State, among others.