Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Updated: March 7, 11:56 AM ET
'Urgency is there' for OU's Reynolds
By Brandon Chatmon
NORMAN, Okla. -- Jaz Reynolds understands that he needs to take his game to another level in 2012.
The Oklahoma receiver watched as the Sooners signed five class of 2012 receivers on national signing day and left no doubt they will give those newcomers every opportunity to earn playing time immediately.
"I look forward to it," Reynolds said of the looming receiver competition. "As long as the team is getting better, it's all good with me."
OU signed Durron Neal, Trey Metoyer, Sterling Shepard, Derrick Woods and Courtney Gardner in February. Metoyer already is on campus going through spring drills, and the other four are expected to join the program in the summer.
"You have to keep the talent coming in; I'm not going to be here forever," Reynolds said. "It just makes me have to compete more; if I lose my spot to a guy coming in, I wasn't doing something right."
Like becoming a consistent receiver and mentoring his teammates.
Reynolds has shown flashes of being a difference maker, from his one-handed catches against Kansas State to his stellar touchdown catch against Texas A&M. He finished third on the team last season with 41 receptions for 715 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games.
The junior was emerging as one of the Sooners' main threats when he suffered a setback. He was suspended for OU's game against Iowa State for a violation of team rules, and then bruised his kidney in the regular season finale against Oklahoma State which sidelined him for the rest of the season.
He was expected to miss spring practice, too, but was cleared recently for full contact. Missing practice would have been a step back in his development and put him at a disadvantage in the receiver competition.
"I was out for two months but I started working out a month ago, and I got my weight back and started feeling pretty good," Reynolds said. "There wasn't a doubt in my mind that I was going to play again; it was just a matter of spring or the fall."
Said quarterback Landry Jones: "No doubt, having Jaz back, having him go again, that's big for us for sure."
Now Reynolds enters the spring with the goal of cementing himself a role in the offense, no matter who the Sooners bring in or how many other quality targets emerge for Jones.
"The urgency is there," Reynolds said of his approach to this season. "I have to keep working hard to stay on the field because [receivers coach Jay Norvell] won't hesitate to take you off if you're not doing something you're supposed to be doing."
Fortunately for Reynolds, he had the perfect role model alongside him in meeting rooms, on the practice field and during games for the past few seasons in Ryan Broyles, who is lauded by the coaching staff for his amazing consistency and relentless pursuit of greatness.
Broyles finished his career with 349 receptions for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns in 48 games (43 starts). Yet, those numbers aren't the main thing Reynolds will take away from playing alongside one of the best receivers in college football history.
"He was great every day; he didn't have a bad practice," Reynolds said. "When he dropped a pass, everybody would be in shock, he came with it. Being on top of your game at all times, that's what I'll remember most about Ryan."
Now Reynolds must strive to be just like Broyles. Or risk getting passed up in his pursuit.
|Jaz Reynolds had a breakout game in 2011 against Missouri, catching five passes for 93 yards. |
Brandon Chatmon covers University of Oklahoma sports and recruiting for SoonerNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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