After a slow start to his career, Jadon Haselwood is a reliable passing game threat for the Sooners

© Provided by Sooners Wire

Jadon Haselwood is slowly, but surely becoming the receiver the Sooners expected him to be. For much of his life he was always one of the most physically gifted individuals on the field.

Coming out of high school, he was a top five national recruit. His raw talent speaks for itself but his time in Norman has been less than smooth, halting the rise of the former Cedar Grove High School star.

He was courted by every major school in the country. When it got down to crunch time and who really had a chance for his services, it came down to the hometown team from the state of Georgia or the school his father went to and grew up supporting in Oklahoma.

After initially committing to Georgia, Haselwood backed off the pledge before ultimately committing to Oklahoma.

He was pencilled in to make an immediate impact due to his natural ability to win with size and elite ball skills rather than separation. His first year in 2019 he played in 13 of 14 games, had 19 receptions for 272 yards and a touchdown. Those stats don’t pop out at you but he also played behind one of the best receivers in school history in CeeDee Lamb and with a quarterback in Jalen Hurts who was not the pure passer other Sooner quarterbacks were. Oklahoma relied heavily on the run game in 2019.

2020 brought some rough times for Haselwood. After an offseason spent perfecting his craft and the chance to truly step up the depth chart, he would suffer a significant knee injury that kept him out of action until November.

By that time, quarterback Spencer Rattler had already developed a budding partnership with Marvin Mims, Theo Wease and a few others. Haselwood was still not 100 percent and only played sparingly in three games and made four receptions for 65 yards (16.2 average)

However, he still showed on occasion why the Sooners just could not give up on him.

Plays like this in the Big 12 Championship versus Iowa State are what had people excited about Haselwood coming into 2021.

1⃣1⃣ Weeks Until @SpencerRattler x @jadon_haselwood.#OUDNA | #BoomerSooner pic.twitter.com/oO38Xpn5sQ

— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) June 19, 2021

He would opt out of the Sooners bowl game vs. Florida and went back home to his hometown of Atlanta to continue to rehab, recover, and get better as a receiver.

The decision was met with criticism and murmurs from people who thought he was a lock to transfer. Haselwood and his family would firmly deny that.

The redshirt sophomore came back to OU for spring ball healthy ever  and physically ready to go. He capped off a productive spring with this beauty of a one handed catch in the spring game.

Perhaps the most impressive play of the #Sooners spring game came courtesy of @jadon_haselwood, who snagged this 50-50 ball with one hand.

11 is back, folks. pic.twitter.com/LKP0s4mftE

— Parker Thune (@ParkerThune) April 24, 2021

Haselwood would make it through the fall on the cusp of having a real opportunity to cement himself as a bonafide receiver for the Oklahoma Sooners for the first time since he arrived in Norman.

Oklahoma entered this season lacking a true star opposite Marvin Mims. Through three games, Haselwood has emerged from the pack healthy and as productive as he’s been since he signed his national letter of intent.

His quarterback trusts him and most importantly, injuries are behind him. He’s no longer wearing a brace around his knee and he looks effortless in and out of his cuts and breaks on routes separating hauling in completions.

Rattler has targeted Haselwood 20 times in three games. In their recent game against Nebraska, Haselwood saw nine targets and brought in 6 catches for 61 yards. Rattler clearly has trust in him and his emergence can only mean bigger opportunities for Mims and other guys like Mario Williams and Mike Woods as the Sooners continue to find a rhythm in the passing game.

Haselwood’s finally breaking out now that he’s not dealing with injuries or fighting for relevance on the depth chart. He’s just going out there and playing.

As the Sooners begin their quest to retain their Big 12 title and fight themselves back into the College Football Playoff again, Haselwood will have to continue his transformation into the star receiver Lincoln Riley knew he was getting when he recruited him. If this season is any indication, it seems like it could happen any game now for the Sooners.

MORE:

3 Players who helped the Oklahoma Sooners knock off Nebraska, 23-16

Oklahoma DL Jalen Redmond returning to form at the right time

‘Just a phenomenal play’: Why Lincoln Riley wanted to challenge D.J. Graham’s epic interception

Oklahoma Sooners drop back 1 spot in latest AP Top 25

Handing Out Grades: Report Card for the Oklahoma Sooners win vs. Nebraska

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