The stat line wasn’t all that impressive. Four catches, 42 yards. Not bad but not earth-shattering, either. But it meant a lot to Oklahoma sophomore Durron Neal the way he performed during OU’s 20-17 victory against TCU.
And his performance didn’t go unnoticed by OU coach Bob Stoops, who was quick to point out how well Neal played during Stoops’ Monday press conference.
“Durron is starting to come on that way,” Stoops said. “He is getting more and more confident with the way he plays. Hopefully that will continue.”
Neal was highly touted coming out of St. Louis DeSmet Jesuit High and was arguably the wide receiver fans were the most excited about for the Class of 2012.
It hasn’t exactly turned out that way, though. His roommate, Sterling Shepard, has been having the career many pegged for Neal.
He has seen limited time in each of his first two seasons, but he said he’s not down in the dumps at all right now.
“Sometimes it can get tough, but you have to stay positive,” Neal said. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities so when that opportunity comes, you have to capitalize.”
Neal was being recruited hard by Missouri. Prior to his commitment, the Tigers went after him hard. And after he pledged, the pursuit didn’t die down.
It wasn’t about leaving home for Neal, though. It was about getting a chance to work with OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell.
“Learning from Coach Jay, who has coached some of the great ones, you want that teaching,” Neal said. “I know I could have went somewhere else, started and had it easy. But being here and being coached by Jay, I’ve learned about being patient and having faith in my ability.”
Neal’s patience paid off in the second quarter against TCU. He caught three balls on three consecutive plays, none bigger than a six-yard catch on fourth down to keep a drive going.
He said that performance has boosted his confidence a lot and lets him know again why he did pick OU to play for.
“It doesn’t cross my mind at all,” said Neal about regretting his decision to sign with OU. “I’m a competitor. I know my time is going to come, and I have to be ready for it.”
Neal is third on the team with 10 catches for 133 yards.