The good news for Lincoln Riley’s 2021 edition of Oklahoma football is the Sooners are loaded with talented, playmaking wide receivers. The bad news is, the Sooners are loaded with a talented corps of game-changing wide receivers.
In the past two months, Oklahoma has lost three wide-receiver commitments from its 2022 class, the latest being five-star receiver prospect Luther Burden, who announced his decommitment from the Sooners on Tuesday. Burden, rated as the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2022 class nationally, had been committed to Oklahoma since last October.
In June, a pair of four-star wide-receivers in the 2022 class backed out of their original verbal commitments to OU. Jordan Hudson, from Garland, Texas, is now committed to SMU, while Talyn Shettron, an in-state prospect from Edmond, flipped to Oklahoma State.
In Shettron’s case, the reason was to be able to play with his brother Tabry, a tight end, who received a scholarship offer from Oklahoma State.
This begs the question: Is there something going on with the Sooners that’s causing some of their wide-receiver commitments to change their mind and decide that Oklahoma is not a good fit or the place for them? The answer is no. No way.
What Oklahoma has is an abundance of riches at wide receiver. The Sooners return six of their top seven receivers from last season. OU’s six primary WR targets coming into the current season are former five-star and four-star recruits, and that doesn’t include tight ends, H-backs running backs, or graduate transfer Mike Woods from Arkansas, who also catch balls in the high-powered Sooner offense.
The transfer portal offers an alternative process for bringing in roster talent, and wide-receiver transfers have been major contributors at OU in recent seasons.
Let’s not forget that the Sooners have arguably the best quarterback in college football leading the charge and with the luxury of spreading the wealth among his multiple offensive weapons and getting the ball to his open receivers.
And if you think for a minute that things are going to be different after Spencer Rattler leaves for the NFL, probably after this season, you best think again. The Sooners have another No. 1 quarterback sitting behind Rattler (Caleb Williams), who we will probably see a lot of this season, and yet another No. 1 quarterback committed in the 2023 class (Malachi Nelson).
As long as Riley is at Oklahoma, you can expect the hits to keep on coming insofar as loading up at the skill positions on offense. The Sooners’ 2021 newcomers include Mario Williams, the No, 1 or 2 wide receiver in the class, depending on which rating service you rely on, as well as a pair of four-star receivers in Jalil Farooq and Cody Jackson.
Georgia or Missouri appear to be the probable new landing spots for Burden, who indicated in announcing his decommitment that he wanted to be able to play immediately and make an impact as a true freshman next season.
Although Burden is a highly touted wide receiver prospect, his chances of seeing more playing time at Georgia, or even closer to home at Missouri (he is from East St. Louis), are higher than they might be at OU. Talented wide receivers are always going to have an opportunity at a place like Oklahoma, but they also will be competing for playing time with other talented players.
Aside from averaging 10 or 11 wins a season, for the past couple of decades, Oklahoma has been best known for producing Heisman-winning quarterbacks and some of the college game’s best receiving groups.
Phil Steele’s 2021 College Football Preview publications rates the Oklahoma receiving corps as the second best in the country behind Ohio State.
Does that sound like Oklahoma has a wide-receiver problem? You be the judge.