OU football: Ex-Penn State WR makes first appearance as a Sooner
Penn State transfer Justin Brown spoke to the media as a Sooner for the first time following practice today.
It’s been less than 24 hours since the senior wide receiver officially arrived in Norman, and it’s taken just one practice for the 6-foot-3, former Nittany Lion to start turning heads.
“He was incredibly impressive in one day,” coach Bob Stoops said. “He can run, strong hands, natural punt returner. He’s going to bring a ton. It’s going to be exciting.”
Brown didn’t wear pads during Tuesday morning’s practice, per NCAA rules, but he’ll be strapped up for Wednesday evening’s practice, Stoops said.
At Penn State, Brown caught 73 passes for 1,047 yards in three seasons and would have been the team’s top returning receiver had he chosen to stay. But the decision to transfer was anything but easy for Brown.
“It was difficult under the circumstances,” Brown said. “But it was the decision that I thought was best for me and my family. No disrespect to Penn State or anything, I still talk to the players. They're still part of my family, but I'm trying to get to know a new family now.”
Brown also returned punts for the Nittany Lions, something Stoops said he expected Brown to continue to do at Oklahoma.
“He's one of the top-10 or 11 (punt returners) in the country a year ago, and we lost our guy (Ryan Broyles),” Stoops said. “I saw him out there today; he catches them as easy and as smooth as anyone I've ever seen.”
Brown ranked 33rd in the nation in punt return yards a season ago, and Stoops raved about Brown’s returning ability.
“A big, strong guy like that, punt return-wise, can run through those arm tackles and people just trying to grab a jersey and pull him down,” Stoops said.
Brown’s arrival should help ease, if not completely alleviate, the pressure placed on junior receiver Kenny Stills — who took over as the Sooners’ go-to receiver after Ryan Broyles went down last season and returned punts in Broyles’ absence.
If nothing more, Brown adds size and depth to a receiving corps that shows promise.
“We went from everybody wondering, to all of a sudden, it's got a chance to be pretty good,” Stoops said. “So, we'll see. We're not there yet. It's only been five practices, but we're headed that direction.”
Stoops also said he expects it won’t take Brown more than “a couple or three days” to learn the majority of the playbook.