NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — It’s CeeDee Lamb’s turn to be Oklahoma’s big-name receiver.
The past two years, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown garnered much of the attention with his blazing speed and highlight-reel plays before leaving for the NFL. Now, Lamb is in position to garner the attention and accolades. The 6-foot-2 junior said he will not be complacent now that he is the main man.
“I’m just trying to go out there and be great,” he said. “Show everybody what I can do for the most part, that I’ve gotten better, that I’ve gotten bigger, faster, stronger. I just want to do all I can on my part, on my end, to help the team win.”
Oklahoma has a history of players stepping up to become star receivers in recent years. In 2015, Dede Westbrook was the No. 2 option behind Sterling Shepard. The next year, he won the Biletnikoff Award winner for the nation’s top receiver. In 2017, after Westbrook went to the NFL, Brown emerged. Last season, Brown was a first-team Associated Press All-American.
Lamb has been a co-star at times. He has 111 catches for 1,965 yards and 18 touchdowns in his career, with yardage and touchdown totals that sit at 10th place in school history. Last season, he caught 65 passes for 1,158 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 160 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas State, 167 yards and a score against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game and 109 yards and a touchdown in the College Football Playoff loss to Alabama.
“I’ve just got to keep it rolling, man,” he said. “That’s my motto going into this season, is keep it rolling.”
Lamb’s experience means the younger receivers will look to him for leadership. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said Lamb set a good example with his work ethic in the spring.
“He’s got to be one of those guys that makes that transition that all great teams have to have,” Riley said. “Maybe a guy that’s been a good player that has not had to lead in the past because there’s always been somebody there, and now all of a sudden, there’s nobody else there, and if you don’t do it, nobody’s going to do it.”
Lamb also embraces the role of vocal leader, though he acknowledges that it will take some getting used to.
“I’ve got to step out of my comfort zone,” he said “You’ve got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. For the young guys, it’s just me being there as much as I possibly can for them.”
Lamb has some experienced help returning. Lee Morris caught eight touchdown passes last season and Grant Calcaterra was an All-Big 12 tight end. Charleston Rambo had 74 yards receiving and a touchdown in the national semifinal against Alabama.
The team will be adjusting to a new quarterback in Jalen Hurts. The Alabama transfer was well aware of Lamb’s talent years ago.
“I was a freshman at Alabama and I wanted CeeDee to come to Alabama,” Hurts said this spring. “It’s not like I didn’t know who he was or what he was capable of. But the tables have turned. I’m here. I guess you can say we are kind of reunited.”
Oklahoma had one of the nation’s top offenses last year with Heisman-winning quarterback Kyler Murray. Lamb expects the Sooners to reload with Hurts.
“They thought there was going to be a drop-off last year, and Kyler did what he did,” Lamb said.
No. 4 Oklahoma opens the season Sunday night at home against Houston.