In Oklahoma’s long line of playmakers on the outside, Jalil Farooq could be slowly positioning himself to star in the team’s future offensive plans.
Despite unusual losses in Saturday’s win against Oklahoma State, the sophomore staggered on a 30-yard shot on his third touchdown of the season Dillon Gabriel.
Now that the Sooners are eligible for the Bowl, the offense will get a much-needed extra game to kickstart next year. For a player like Farooq who looks set to be on the verge of a breakthrough, the last two games of the season could be a big opportunity to prove he’s ready for the limelight.
The talented playmaker was Oklahoma’s gadget player all season.
When the new coaching staff took over last January, keeping Farooq was an obvious priority, especially after his close friend Caleb Williams transfer. It’s clear why the wide receiver was at the top of OU’s list, having filled many different roles on the field over the fall.
“I feel like my role has evolved from just being a playmaker,” Farooq said after Oklahoma’s win over Iowa State in late October. “I just take every opportunity I have – I get handoffs, I catch and run, anything I can do to help the team, that’s what I try to do and that’s what the coaches use me, a role player, so I have to be.”
This year Farooq has registered 29 catches for 387 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his work as a receiver, he has also logged 12 carries for 113 yards and serves as the team’s primary kick returner. Getting him the ball is clearly a part of Oklahoma’s weekly game plan.
With Marvin Mims’ Status in the air for next season, Oklahoma’s passing offense will depend heavily on Farooq’s development in 2023. If Mims decides to move on, it could be Farooq’s turn to step into the role of No. 1 wide receiver. If his counterpart returns for his senior season, Farooq’s rise will only raise Oklahoma’s offensive ceiling.
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“I feel more mature,” Farooq said after Monday night’s practice session. “I’m becoming more of a team leader, a vocal leader. I don’t really talk much so I feel like I’m becoming more of a vocal leader for the team. Get a more mature role. It feels crazy The time goes fast.
“It just takes time. I didn’t even realize it happened. It was just a role that I took on, pretty much.”
Farooq has been able to step up and make several big plays in an inconsistent Oklahoma offense this season. While his stats don’t jump off the page, the sophomore’s potential is clear. With or without Mims, his junior leap has a chance to become something special and great performances in the last two games could go a long way towards making that happen.
“It’s definitely (easier to lead),” Farooq said. “It’s easier to do things like that when you’re doing plays and stuff. Guys tend to follow a guy (who does plays).”
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