Oklahoma football: Sooners have star no one is talking about — yet

The top-10 receivers in 125 years of Oklahoma football history have all played at OU in the last 20 years.

The Sooners have had some very good ones at that position during that time, which is a big reason four Oklahoma quarterbacks have won the Heisman Trophy and two others have been Heisman runners-up in the past two decades. The names Mark Clayton, Ryan Broyles, Sterling Shepard, Dede Westbrook, “Hollywood” Brown, and CeeDee Lamb come immediately to mind.

Since Lincoln Riley came onboard in 2015, the Sooners have been blessed, it seems, not only at the quarterback position, but equally so with an embarrassment of riches at the other offensive skill positions.

The last three Oklahoma starting quarterbacks all passed for over 3,800 yards in their final season in Norman and collectively averaged nearly 4,300 passing yards in their final season as a Sooner.

You don’t reach those kind of season numbers without having outstanding receivers on the other end of the throws. And the Sooners have had plenty of those in recent years.

Outside of the two graduate transfers (Theo Howard and Obi Obialo) OU brought in during the offseason, though, this year’s Sooner receiving corps is relatively young and inexperienced compared with previous years. Oklahoma has three former five-star prospects from the 2019 recruiting class, but only one of those now sophomore receivers is available for the first half of the season.

Redshirt-junior Charleston Rambo is the best returning wide receiver from last season, but the player to keep a close eye on is true freshman Marvin Mims. Mims speed and pass-catching ability could well make him the next superstar wide receiver to play at Oklahoma.

I’ve written about this kid’s exceptional talent before. I saw it in person last fall when he was a senior at Lone Star High School in Frisco, Texas. It’s not really surprising that Mims holds the Texas high school state record for receiving yards in a career (almost 5,500 yards). And I don’t need to remind you of the extraordinary level of football talent that resides in the Lone Star State.

The best Oklahoma football receivers have all played there in last 20 years.

In his first game as an Oklahoma Sooner, Mims caught three passes for 80 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown pass that he actually had to slow up for and allow the ball, which was thrown over 50 yards in the air by quarterback Spencer Rattler, to get to him.

“We saw that many, many a time,” Mims’ high school coach Jeff Rayburn told OU beat writer Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman.

“I don’t think there’s a quarterback that can out-throw Marvin Mims when the ball’s in the air. If there’s any space to be had, he’s going to find it and he’s going to go get it,” he said.

“When the ball’s in the air, he just has another gear.”

Mims’ versatility goes beyond catching passes on offense. He is one of the fastest players on the team, according to head coach Lincoln Riley, and like Lamb before him, Mims is also being utilized as a punt returner. He returned three in the Sooners’ 49-0 win over Missouri State and averaged 23 yards per return.

“It’s pretty special to see him (Mims) doing the same thing on a Saturday for OU that he did for us,” Rayburn said.

“From a technical standpoint, he was a pretty polished kid coming out of high school, said OU outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons. “He’s stepped into a room with an opportunity, with a sense of confidence and understanding that, ‘I’m not just happy to be here but I belong here.'”

This true freshman is a bona fide star in the making. Those Sooner fans who don’t already recognize that will in short time. And when they do, they will be especially thankful that Oklahoma won the recruiting battle over Stanford as the place where Mims wanted to attach his star power.