Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Penn State transfer fitting in with Sooners
By David Ubben
Harsh NCAA sanctions sent Penn State football players scattering. A handful left before the sanctions dropped, and 10 have now left after the NCAA dropped the hammer on State College.
Two left for the Big 12, and one has already made a big impact.
It's not kicker Anthony Fera, who has been sidelined by a groin injury and has yet to attempt a kick.
Receiver Justin Brown has already found a home and made an impact with Oklahoma through two games.
"Justin’s an exceptional athlete. To start with, the talent," coach Bob Stoops said this week. "He’s a big guy who can run. He’s 6-3, 210, 212. He’s got excellent speed."
Brown has six catches for 87 yards through two games, but his biggest impact has come on special teams. The Sooners have put Brown back as their return man, and he's averaging 22 yards on his six returns.
"When you have a bigger guy like that, people get their hands on him, but when you don’t truly have a good arms around him in a good position, he has the ability to run through you or break away from it because of how strong he is," Stoops said.
Brown broke a 43-yard return against Florida A&M last week, returning it down to the Rattlers' 4-yard line and setting up Oklahoma's second touchdown of the 69-13 rout.
Later in the game, he caught a 46-yard pass and returned a punt 62 yards down to the Rattlers 8-yard line. Oklahoma punched that in to take a 28-3 lead.
After the game, that led Stoops to compare his new special teams weapon to former Sooners star and All-American J.T. Thatcher, who played safety and was a Thorpe Award semifinalist in the 2000 season. The size was the biggest reason for the comparison, but it's clear the size of Brown's impact has a great opportunity to grow.
"That gives him an advantage," Stoops said of Brown's frame, "but he’s a hard-working guy, all business in his approach. Absolute joy to be around and coach."