Broyles, of course, racked up more than 1,600 yards to go along with 14 touchdowns on 131 catches a year ago, while Stills ranked second on the team his freshman season with 786 yards and five touchdowns, catching 61 passes.
The two have already combined for more than 850 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011 and are perhaps the best one-two receiving tandem in the country.
But the recent emergence of another guy has solidified this entire group as possibly the best in the country.
Jaz Reynolds, a 6-foot-2, 198-pound sophomore from the Houston area, has really come on as of late.
He actually ranks second on the team with 326 receiving yards along with a touchdown and leads the Sooners with his 20.4 yards per catch.
A lot of it came to a head last week when he picked up 30 yards on a third-and-25 play in the first half.
He finished with 92 yards on six catches.
“Well, I think it’s--I think the biggest thing are the big plays that Jaz has made,” said OU co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell. “You know, when you got a guy jump up and make an 8-yard catch, that’s one thing. But when you get a guy that jumps up and makes a 25-, 35-yard catch or catches the ball and runs like Jaz did in the game last week, that gets your attention as a defense.
“And I think those are the plays that we’ve been so pleased about, and we’ve felt like Jaz has been capable of doing that.”
Thing is, so are the rest of OU’s receivers, especially Broyles and Stills.
Because of that, there are really two options.
Bracket Broyles and leave one-on-one matchups on the outside for Reynolds and Stills and whoever else.
Or load up on the outside and run the risk of Broyles going off like he’s done so many times.
“I mean, it just makes it tough on those guys and if they want to focus more on Ryan, then you got Kenny and Jaz out there,” said quarterback Landry Jones, who has already thrown for more than 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. “And then if you want to focus more on that outside, you got Ryan working the middle of the field, so it stretches the defense for sure having three guys like that. It makes my job a lot easier.”
Not only that, but it prevents defenses from being able to load up on one side as well.
“I think the emergence of him as a real threat certainly helps us,” said co-offensive coordinator and play caller Josh Heupel. “It’s tough to really cover one direction when you got somebody on both sides that can win outside on the perimeter.”
But the “big three,” so to speak, are quick to point out that there are plenty of other solid options.
“I don’t like to look at it like it’s just three of us,” Reynolds said. “You know, you got Trey [Franks] and Dejuan [Miller], plus us three.”
So, just how good is this group?
“I personally think we’re the best receiving corps in the nation,” Reynolds said. “Some guys think Arkansas, but I think we do a lot more blocking than them. Outside of catching the ball and getting yards and touchdowns, we block every play, getting those bubbles out. So, that’s what I think sets us apart from everybody else.”
Stills added onto that.
“We want to pride ourselves on being the best in the nation, but, you know, we don't really compare ourselves to anybody else,” Stills said. “We hold high standards here and we go out there and practice our hardest every day, try to prove it on Saturdays.”
And Jones, who of course gets to sling the ball around to all these targets, gave his take.
“Obviously I’m a little biased [towards] my guys,” Jones said. “I think they’re the best in the country. They’re playing like it right now and it just makes my job a lot easier for having those guys out there with me.”
At the very least, it’s a lethal group and one that secondaries struggle to game plan for and deal with on a weekly basis.
And Reynolds’ emergence only makes it that much more difficult.
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