Big 12: Jaz Reynolds

Seventeen Big 12 players heard their names called during the 2014 NFL draft. Many other Big 12 alums will have a chance at the next level as undrafted free agents.

Below is a list of undrafted players who reportedly have agreed to free agent deals. This is not a final list, as teams are still working to sign undrafted free agents. But these are the players we know of so far.

Baylor
Iowa State
Kansas
Kansas State
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
TCU
Texas
Texas Tech
West Virginia

Big 12 weekend rewind: Week 7

October, 14, 2013
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Taking stock of Week 7 in the Big 12:

Team of the week: Texas. Not only did the Longhorns pull off the biggest Red River upset in 17 years, they completely reversed the outlook of their season. At 3-0 in the Big 12 standings, Texas is right in the middle of the conference race. The Longhorns also finally found an identity in Dallas, which could make them a tough out during the second half of the season. The Longhorns ran the ball with authority between the tackles behind their experienced offensive line, which took pressure off quarterback Case McCoy. Defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, meanwhile, disguised his defenses beautifully and utilized Texas’ speed in timely blitzes. Baylor remains the favorite to win the Big 12 crown. But Texas, which travels to Baylor in the regular-season finale, could be a factor. What a difference a week makes.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
Jackson Laizure/Getty ImagesBlake Bell had one of the worst performances statistically by an OU QB since 2005.
Disappointment of the week: Oklahoma. While Texas found its identity in the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners seemingly lost theirs. The defense’s Achilles' heel resurfaced from last season, as Oklahoma couldn’t stop the run. That made the Sooners vulnerable against deep passes, which McCoy capitalized on with a pair of long touchdowns. As much as the defense struggled, the offense looked completely lost. Blake Bell took four sacks, threw two interceptions and was utterly miserable on third down. Bell’s QBR on third down, in fact, was 0.1 percent (he had been 89.8 on third downs coming into the game). Bell wasn’t much better the rest of the game with an Adjusted QBR of 2.8, which was the fourth-worst single-game adjusted QBR of any FBS quarterback this season. Curiously, Bob Stoops said the offensive staff didn’t feel comfortable running Bell in this game. And the Sooners couldn’t figure out which running back to feature, with no back receiving more than seven carries. This is a team that doesn’t look like it knows who it is all of a sudden.

Big (offensive) men on campus: The Texas offensive line, Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams and Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro.

The most experienced offensive line in the Big 12 blocked like it at the most opportune of times. Kennedy Estelle, Mason Walters, Dominic Espinosa, Trey Hopkins and Donald Hawkins paved the way for Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown to become the first Texas duo to top 100 rushing yards apiece in the same Red River game. The Bevos up front also kept McCoy upright, as the Texas quarterback was not sacked all day and barely pressured, either.

In Manhattan, Sams played valiantly in K-State’s 35-25 loss to Baylor. He rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns and almost single-handedly kept the Wildcats scoring with the high-powered Bears. Sams' late interception that effectively ended the game was a huge mistake. But his 86.1 Adjusted QBR was 13th-best in college football for the week. Sams now is second in the Big 12 in Adjusted QBR (86.5) for the year, trailing only Baylor’s Bryce Petty (95.1).

Amaro continues to be a security blanket for Texas Tech’s true freshman quarterbacks. Against Iowa State, he had his best game yet with nine receptions for 143 yards. Amaro leads the Big 12 with 47 receptions. Teammate Eric Ward is second with 34.

Big (defensive) men on campus: Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, Baylor safety Ahmad Dixon and Texas defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed.

Along with Sams, Mueller was a major reason the Wildcats were in the game in the fourth quarter. In what might be the defensive highlight of the season in the Big 12 so far, Mueller stripped Petty while simultaneously recovering the fumble to set K-State with field position in the third quarter that would turn into a go-ahead touchdown. Mueller finished with seven tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup.

Dixon, meanwhile, came up with the defensive play of the game, as he beelined to the sideline to intercept Sams with four minutes to play. Off the turnover, the Baylor offense sealed the victory with a touchdown that put the Bears up two scores.

Jeffcoat and Reed, meanwhile, were terrific against the Sooners. The swarming defensive end duo totaled three sacks and kept the Oklahoma running backs from bouncing much of anything outside.

[+] EnlargeDaje Johnson
AP Photo/Brandon WadeDaje Johnson delivered Texas' first punt return for a touchdown since 2009.
Special-teams players of the week: Texas returner Daje Johnson, Texas kicker Anthony Fera and Iowa State returner Jarvis West.

Johnson delivered the dagger to the Sooners with a weaving 85-yard punt return touchdown late in the third quarter, which put the Longhorns ahead 30-13. It was Texas’ first punt return touchdown since Jordan Shipley did it in 2009. Fera came up big on special teams, too. He nailed a 43-yard field goal right before halftime that stymied the Sooners’ momentum from a long Roy Finch kick return that led to a touchdown the previous drive. Fera also nailed 50- and 31-yard field goals to be perfect on the day.

West kept the Cyclones above water in the first half as the Iowa State offense struggled. His 95-yard kickoff return -- Iowa State’s first non-onside kick return for a touchdown since 1994 -- tied the game in the first quarter 7-7. West later added a 38-yard punt return, and he finished with three receptions for 36 yards.

Play of the week: With the Red River Rivalry tied 3-3 in the first quarter, Texas' Adrian Phillips came off the edge untouched on a third-down zone blitz and slammed into Bell. The hit caused Bell’s pass to flutter behind intended receiver Jaz Reynolds and into the arms of defensive tackle Chris Whaley, who rumbled 31 yards for the touchdown. The Longhorns never gave up the lead the rest of the way.

Stat of the week: Bell’s QBR against Texas was the lowest by an Oklahoma quarterback since Rhett Bomar posted a 1.6 against Tulsa in 2005.

Quote of the week: "We love the guy. We’re playing for the guy. You all keep writing those articles bad about him. We’ll keep playing for him." -- McCoy on coach Mack Brown

Big 12 lunch links

September, 17, 2013
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There were plenty of big plays in the Big 12 last weekend.
Things magazine says it's the next big thing!

Opening camp: Oklahoma Sooners

August, 9, 2012
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Camp is open up in Norman. Before we get too deep in sweltering hot practices, I'll offer up a quick preview of what you need to know heading into the season.

See more fall camp previews.

Next up: Oklahoma

Media's predicted finish: First.

Biggest story line: Is Oklahoma, fresh off a disappointing end to 2011, good enough to bounce back and ascend back into the BCS in 2012 as Big 12 champs? The Sooners are the favorites, and have a decent shot at winning a national title if they stay healthy. This year, they don't have to deal with the crushing pressure of the preseason No. 1 and the expectation of a national title. Even QB Landry Jones admitted to me this preseason that wins last year felt mostly like relief, the calm after holding their breath for 60 minutes. This year should be much more relaxing, with wins feeling more like accomplishments. Will the results show up on the field?

Biggest question mark: Receivers. There's tons of potential here, especially with the addition of Penn State transfer Justin Brown, who'll contribute on punt returns, too. Kenny Stills returns, but offseason suspensions means Brown and Stills will be the only Sooners on the roster who have played a down of college football when the season begins. Trey Metoyer looks likely to emerge as an impact player, but he's got to prove it. Can Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal get in the mix while Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks sit out with multiple game suspensions?

Biggest addition: Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops is in after nearly a decade in charge of the Arizona program. He'll coach the defensive backs and replace Brent Venables, who left for Clemson after being forced into a co-defensive coordinator role with Stoops.

Who needs to step up: The rest of the offensive line. Oklahoma's camp has gotten off to an awful start. Center Ben Habern left football after lingering neck and back issues, and guard Tyler Evans is out with a torn ACL. That's a pair of three-year starters. Guard Gabe Ikard, the team's most talented lineman, is moving to center, but the Sooners are officially strapped for depth. It's time for junior Bronson Irwin to slide into Evans' spot, and he'll have to be great if OU is going to win another Big 12 or national title.

On the mend: Dominique Whaley. The Sooners' RB suffered a nasty broken ankle last season against Kansas State, but he's back and ready to compete with Roy Finch and Brennan Clay for carries in a crowded backfield.

Don't forget about: S Tony Jefferson. He's moving from the nickel back spot (Joe Ibiloye is expected to take over) back to free safety across from Javon Harris as strong safety, but don't be surprised if Jefferson makes a run at the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award by season's end. He's got the physical talent and his instincts are almost unmatched in this league. At a more natural spot, could he emerge as an All-American, or more?
Officially, Justin Brown is a Sooner.

The Penn State transfer participated in his first Oklahoma practice Tuesday after flying in the night before.

“It was difficult under the circumstances, but it was the decision I thought was best for me and my family,” Brown said in his first interview since leaving Penn State.

Because of NCAA rules, Brown was in shirts and shorts while the rest of the team was in pads. But coach Bob Stoops already likes what he sees.

[+] EnlargeJustin Brown
Tim Heitman/US PresswireJustin Brown will likely be the Sooners' primary punt returner in 2012.
“He was incredibly impressive out there in one day,” Stoops said. “I said to [wide receivers coach Jay] Norvell, ‘Wow, this guy is going to be special in our system.’”

Playing in a run-first offense, Brown was Penn State’s second-leading receiver last season with 35 catches for 517 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Brown couldn’t hold back a smile when talking about playing in Oklahoma’s spread attack featuring veteran quarterback Landry Jones.

“I think everybody gets a chance to showcase their skills in this offense,” Brown said. “They throw the ball a lot and the give the receivers and running backs a lot of opportunities to make plays.”

The Sooners are counting on Brown to make an immediate impact as a position that’s suffered some turmoil this offseason. At the moment, the Sooners have only one non-suspended receiver -- junior Kenny Stills -- who has made a catch wearing an OU uniform. Kameel Jackson was dismissed from the team last week, and Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks remain suspended.

“I can't say enough, looking out there today and you see him added to the equation, a guy that's a senior that has three years' experience playing and fighting people, crack-back blocking on people, catching the ball,” Stoops said. “He's a natural catching the football. He's going to bring a ton. It's going be exciting.”

Stoops also said that Brown will return punts for the Sooners. Brown ranked 36th nationally in punt returns in 2011 for the Nittany Lions.

“He can run through those arm tackles or people just trying to grab that jersey and pull him down,” Stoops said. “I saw him out there today, he catches them as easy and smooth as anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Brown said the decision to transfer from Penn State in his senior season was an “emotional” one. The toughest part? Telling his teammates.

“They're still my family and I still talk to them every day,” Brown said. “I'm just trying to get to know a new family now.”
Oklahoma sophomore wide receiver Kameel Jackson has been dismissed from the team, head coach Bob Stoops announced Saturday.

Since the spring, Jackson had been suspended indefinitely due in part to issues in the classroom. Earlier in the week, Stoops said that he would review Jackson’s standing after Jackson completed the summer academic session.

Before his suspension became public, Jackson had even tweeted that he would be transferring to Texas A&M. But he returned to OU with a goal of working his way back onto the field.

Jackson caught 12 passes for 165 yards as a true freshman last season. He earned the start in the Insight Bowl after injuries to Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds.

While Jackson kept his scholarship during his suspension, receivers Reynolds and Trey Franks were stripped of theirs. OU put Reynolds and Franks back on scholarship earlier in the week, but Stoops said they would be suspended “multiple” games.

Video: On reinstated Sooners

August, 3, 2012
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On "College Football Live," Jake Trotter of SoonerNation breaks down what Oklahoma fans can realistically expect from reinstated players Quentin Hayes, Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks.
As Oklahoma kicks off football practice this week, here are five storylines to watch this preseason:

1. How does Whaley look in pads?

The injury to Ryan Broyles overshadowed the impact of the loss of Dominique Whaley, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury midway through the 2012 season. Whaley has been cleared to practice, but even Bob Stoops admitted the Sooners won’t know how Whaley will handle cutting and contact until the team practices in pads. The Sooners have other options at running back, but Whaley is the most proven of any of them.

2. How will the offensive adjust to life without Habern?

[+] EnlargeTrey Metoyer
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireFreshman receiver Trey Metoyer is already penciled in as an opening-day starter for the Sooners.
Stoops said this week that the offensive line will be ready to deal with the loss of center Ben Habern, who has given up football because of issues with his neck and back. The Sooners made a seamless transition for six games without Habern last season, sliding Gabe Ikard to center, and inserting Adam Shead in at guard. The Sooners shouldn’t miss much of a beat without Habern, but the line is a lot thinner than it was a week ago. Others like guard Bronson Irwin must step up.

3. Does Trey Metoyer build off his spring?

Other than Landry Jones, Metoyer was OU’s best offensive playmaker of the spring. Can the freshman phenom keep it going? By all accounts, Metoyer has busted it over the summer. So there’s little reason to doubt he won’t lock down a starting job before September.

4. Which other newcomer receivers will emerge?

With Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks expected to serve long suspensions, and Kameel Jackson still working on academics, OU will need wideouts other than Metoyer to emerge. Durron Neal has been slowed by a knee injury this summer, LaColtan Bester just got to campus and Courtney Gardner was unable to qualify. That leaves freshman slot receiver Sterling Shepard as the most likely to step into a prominent role. Shepard has wowed his teammates with his work ethic this summer.

5. Will the secondary regain some of its swagger?

The confidence of the defensive backfield was shaken the second half of the season following porous performances against Texas Tech and Baylor. The group even dropped its “Sharks” nickname. But the return of Mike Stoops has the secondary primed for a bounce-back season. A change of scenery could do wonders for Javon Harris and Gabe Lynn, who both figure to open the season in the starting lineup. If they hold up, the secondary could be awesome, with stars Tony Jefferson, Aaron Colvin and Demontre Hurst manning the rest of the unit.


Buried beneath the news that center Ben Habern’s football career is over was the announcement that coach Bob Stoops has reinstated receivers Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks as well as reserve safety Quentin Hayes.

All three players will be able to practice with the team, but remain suspended indefinitely from games. A third receiver, Kameel Jackson remains off the roster, but he could be reinstated after the summer academic session ends.

Really sad, surprising news out of Oklahoma today. Here's our news story:
Oklahoma senior Ben Habern's career is over.

The Sooner center won't return to the team after offseason neck surgery that fused together two vertebrae, despite expectations that he would return at full strength this fall.

...

"Our coaching staff knows this was a difficult decision for Ben," [coach Bob] Stoops said in a statement. "Ben has been a consummate leader for our team, both on and off the field. We appreciate the toughness that Ben has displayed, and we wish him the very best as he completes his education at OU."

First things first: Absolutely hate to see this for Habern. I covered the Sooners for The Oklahoman during Habern's freshman year, and he's consistently been a great guy to cover from that point through just last week, when he was chosen as a representative for Oklahoma at Big 12 Media Days.

Here's the video he took time to shoot for us. (Stick around until the end).

It's truly shocking news. Habern must have been thinking about quitting, but didn't know until just recently. If Oklahoma knew Habern's status was in doubt, it's highly unlikely he would have represented the Sooners at media days.

Habern's dealt with neck and back issues throughout his career, which also featured a broken ankle in 2009 and a broken right arm last season that forced him out of five games.

His experience and leadership simply can't be replaced this season. Oklahoma's fantastic offensive line takes a huge hit with his loss.

As for his spot on the depth chart? Look for guard Gabe Ikard (one of the league's best overall linemen) to slide over to play center, and junior Adam Shead to move up and replace Ikard at guard. The Sooners can handle that. Don't be surprised if freshman Ty Darlington gets some time at center, too.

Still, Habern has been around for everything coming into this year, and been a stalwart at center for the past three seasons. He saw the 2009 collapse up close. He was integral in the rebound for a Big 12 title in 2010. He learned from the pressure of 2011.

He talked about his neck surgery at Big 12 media days last week, but gave zero indication he was even thinking about quitting.

Now, he has.

It's a sad story, no doubt, but Oklahoma has no choice but to move on.

As Habern moves on, here's hoping for the best for him. I'm confident he'll excel in his future endeavors.

Suspended players reinstated

In Wednesday's statement, Stoops also said that receiver Trey Franks, defensive back Quentin Hayes and receiver Jaz Reynolds were each reinstated from offseason suspensions, but only for preseason practice. Their availability for Oklahoma's season opener at UTEP on Sept. 1 was still undecided. Receiver Kameel Jackson was not reinstated, and his suspension will be re-evaluated "at the conclusion the current academic session."

Stoops also confirmed previous reports that wide receiver Courtney Gardner and offensive lineman Will Latu would not be available this season.
Oklahoma freshman receiver Kameel Jackson, who announced last week on Twitter that he was transferring to Texas A&M and then was suspended indefinitely by Sooners head coach Bob Stoops, has apparently had a change of heart about his status at the university.

Jackson tweeted early Thursday morning that he has "decided to stay at OU."

He also explained the reason he was suspended.

"My suspensions came from my failure to meet my class attendance policy," Jackson said on Twitter. "Nothing more; nothing less."

Jackson was one of three OU receivers to be suspended indefinitely last week, along with juniors Jaz Reynolds and Trey Franks. If none of these three are available for OU's season opener on Sept. 1 at UTEP, Kenny Stills would be the only receiver on the OU roster with a career reception.

Jackson caught 12 passes for 165 yards last season and started in the Insight Bowl versus Iowa.

Door opens for Sooners' incoming WRs

May, 10, 2012
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Oklahoma signee Durron Neal (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit) had about 20 phone calls and text messages Wednesday. For Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma City/Heritage Hall), the news didn’t hit his phone until Thursday morning, and he said he has already talked to several people.

In other words, the highly touted group of receivers for the Sooners know they’re going to have to grow up in a hurry.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops announced Wednesday night that four players have been indefinitely suspended for violating team rules. Receivers Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson were included in that group.

Click here Insider for the rest of Bob Przybylo's story.
Four Oklahoma players have been suspended indefinitely for violations of team rules, which could leave the Sooners with just one receiver on the roster for the season opener who has caught a pass.

Coach Bob Stoops announced the suspensions late Wednesday night.

Receivers Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson and reserve safety Quentin Hayes are the players involved.

No details of the suspensions were made public, but the most troubling aspect? Two of the suspended players have been disciplined before.
This isn't the first time Reynolds has run into trouble with Stoops. Reynolds was suspended twice in 2010, including once after he made insensitive comments on Twitter following a campus shooting at the University of Texas.

This isn't the first time Stoops has punished Franks, either. After starting OU's first two games last season, Franks was suspended two games for what Stoops termed multiple violations of team rules. Franks ended the season with 22 catches for 196 yards.

Jackson, a true freshman last season who started for the Sooners in the Insight Bowl, tweeted earlier in the week that he was transferring from OU.

That's got to be frustrating for Stoops, but there's no doubt it's just as frustrating for quarterback Landry Jones, who's about to embark on an important season for his own career.

He's not getting much help from his teammates.

This story should be interesting to watch, and will have a big impact on the Sooners' Big 12 and national title hopes. Oklahoma was already a narrow favorite in the Big 12, but will the suspensions make way for another contender -- West Virginia, Kansas State, TCU, Texas perhaps? -- to grab the role of favorite come fall?

Bob Stoops: Fan of recent Big 12 expansion

March, 6, 2012
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Bob Stoops spent most of his pre-spring media session addressing his team's own issues, but touched on recent Big 12 expansion later in the news conference.

Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC during the fall, and the Big 12 subsequently expanded back to 10 members with the addition of West Virginia from the Big East and TCU from the Mountain West.

"When you look at what these guys have done, we are bringing in two ranked teams at the end of the year and the two that left I don't know that they were. I can't remember," Stoops told reporters on Monday. "All I know is these guys are excellent teams. They are coached well and have great athletes."

Does that qualify as a veiled shot? It's debatable, but Stoops seems to subscribe to yours truly's opinion: The Big 12 won't miss Texas A&M and Missouri on the field all that much.

Yes, last year's ranking is hardly the best measure, but BCS bowl success in the modern era seems fair. West Virginia (3-0) and TCU (1-1) offer a whole lot more than Texas A&M (0-1) or Missouri (0-0), and have, simply put, spent more Saturdays winning.

Intentional or not, Stoops likely stirred things up around the league on Monday.

He also offered a few pre-spring updates for the Sooners.
  • Receiver Jaz Reynolds will suit up. He missed the bowl game and part of the Oklahoma State game with a kidney problem, and wasn't expected to be available during the spring. Not anymore. "Jaz has been cleared for the last probably three weeks and has really gotten back to full strength and looks good," Stoops said. "He is cleared to go. In all likelihood, we are set to have a procedure at the end of spring. We will sideline him for probably three weeks." Welcome news for the Sooners, who need a boost at receiver, and Reynolds, who caught 41 balls for 715 yards and five touchdowns last season could provide it.
  • Safety Aaron Colvin and defensive tackle Casey Walker will be out with a shoulder injuries.
  • Not necessarily news, but center Ben Habern (neck) and leading rusher Dominique Whaley (ankle) are also out in the spring.

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