- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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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.
“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.”
1dMax Olson and Jake Trotter