A few years ago, then-Oklahoma offensive coordinator and the rest of the Sooners’ coaches were regulars at Allen (Texas) High School.
They already had a commitment from offensive tackle Bobby Evans and were working to flip quarterback Kyler Murray from his longtime commitment to Texas A&M.
But a wide receiver caught their eye as well, and it turned out to be a player with deep connections to Oklahoma football.
When Lee Morris didn’t get the scholarship offers he’d hoped for out of high school, he decided instead to follow in his father’s footstep and walk on at Oklahoma, with plenty of encouraging from the Sooners’ staff.
Morris’ father, also named Lee, was a walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship in the mid-1980s before making his way to the NFL.
“He had some options, but we were shocked he didn’t have more and bigger options than he had,” head coach Lincoln Riley said. “It’s obviously worked out great for everybody. He’s been a big part of us for sure.”
In a season-opening 63-14 win over Florida Atlantic, Morris blocked a punt and caught a 65-yard touchdown pass from Murray, who stuck with his initial commitment to Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma after one season.
Morris figures to be a weapon for Murray and the Sooners’ offense all year, especially after his breakout performance in the opener. Oklahoma is home against UCLA (0-1) this Saturday.
Morris still has yet to be put on scholarship, but Riley said it’s coming for a receiver who has scored touchdowns on all three of his career receptions, including one against Ohio State a year ago.
“There is a lot that goes into it,” Riley said. “You sit there first and there are number issues, which is never as clear-cut as it seems because your numbers are basically changing weekly, if not daily, depending on where the recruiting class is, guys that you have leaving, projecting the future, where you needs are.
“It’s a moving target.”
Morris said he’s not focused on when or if that call would come, but it would be a major milestone if it happens.
“Just to follow in the footsteps and earn one as well, it would mean the world to me, my family,” Morris said. “(It would) just help us out.”
–LB Curtis Bolton, a redshirt senior, made his first career start in last week’s win over Florida Atlantic. Bolton recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown and had six tackles to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. Bolton beat out Caleb Kelly, who has started 19 games over the previous two seasons, for the job at weakside linebacker.
–WR Marquise Brown once again showed off his speed last week, with six catches for 133 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. Brown spent part of the offseason back home in Hollywood, Florida, including working out with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to improve his speed that already was among the best in college football.
–DE/LB Mark Jackson Jr. will be an even bigger key to the Sooners’ defensive front after the season-ending injury to Addison Gumbs just a day before the Florida Atlantic game. The start in that game was Jackson’s first in three seasons at the school. The “jack” linebacker/defensive end spot has been the source of most of Oklahoma’s quarterback pressure over the last few years, and while the Sooners are concentrating on bringing pressure from different angles this year, Mike Stoops’ defense still expects Jackson to be plenty disruptive himself.
–OT Bobby Evans made his first start at left tackle last week after starting every game at right tackle in the previous two seasons. Sooners’ offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh said before the season that Evans was Oklahoma’s most consistent offensive lineman last season, even on a group that included Orlando Brown on the left side. Evans had a solid game against Florida Atlantic but figures to be tested much more against UCLA’s defense.