Saunders cleared to play
OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders is now eligible.
OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders is now eligible. Publisher
Posted Oct 10, 2012
Joey Helmer

NORMAN, Okla. — A normally uneventful Wednesday media session had some unusual positive breaking news for the Sooners tonight: the NCAA has cleared wide receiver Jalen Saunders to play.

The team found out in the middle of practice, said head coach Bob Stoops.

"Switched him over from scout team to the one and twos and he's catching up right now," Stoops said. "So, I anticipate him helping hopefully. We'll see. You can't determine today what he'll be able to do, but he's kept himself up with everything we're doing.

"He's a really good player. So, I'm hopeful that he'll be able to help and play."

And that means immediately, as in he should be ready to go for the Red River Rivalry game against Texas this weekend.

"I'm hopeful and I believe he will, but you know, we just found out an hour ago," Stoops said. "So, we gotta do some more work here to make sure we're comfortable with it."

What does he add to this receiving corps?

Well, you can start with a veteran presence to go along with the likes of senior wide receiver Justin Brown and junior wide out Kenny Stills.

"Again, you're getting a guy that's played a lot of ball and has played it well," Stoops said. "So, I think it's a big plus."

His production last year, and thus his capability to be an explosive receiver, speaks for itself.

Saunders led Fresno State in 2011 with 1,065 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 50 receptions.

Also, he could be a big boost in the special teams department.

Not only do the Sooners have Brown, who has shown his electric nature in the punt return game, but now they also have another weapon in Saunders should they plan to use him that way.

"He's quick," Stoops said. "He's quick. He's got great sense of space in there and got great hands and got great ability to get open. So, we really like him."

At this point, it's just about getting him integrated into the offense and co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell's group.

"Now that we're gaining more confidence with some of these other guys and doing all the right things, it allows them to play harder and rotate out, rotate in," Stoops said. "And I think I just believe it'll help."

As for how the whole thing transpired, Stoops wouldn't go into a whole lot of detail. He just stated it was a lengthy process and expressed his satisfaction with the decision the bolsters his offense that much more heading into perhaps the biggest game of the season.

"I'm not gonna," Stoops said. "They just finally--there's been a lot of information exchanged back and forth, so fortunately they've finally got it all cleared out, cleared up."

Fortunately for the Sooners, and unfortunately for their arch rival Longhorns.

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