Back in early September, Oklahoma announced that the NCAA had denied transfer Jalen Saunders‘ appeal for a hardship waiver that would’ve given the wide receiver immediate eligibility.
A month later? The long-awaited cavalry at the position for Oklahoma has finally and somewhat unexpectedly arrived.
Following practice Wednesday, head coach Bob Stoops confirmed that an appeal of the NCAA’s initial decision has been successful and Saunders is eligible to begin playing in games immediately. Stoops and the coaching staff learned actually learned of the decision during the middle of practice, which had previously been Saunders’ lone on-field contact with his new teammates.
“He’s played a lot of football and played it well,” Stoops said in quotes sent out by the school. “We’re hopeful that he will be able to play (on Saturday). He’s quick, got a great sense of space and the ability to get open.”
While the Sooners have been far from woeful in the passing game sans Saunders this season, his addition will nonetheless bring a significant amount of experience to a unit that was, for the most part, very green and raw entering 2012.
As a sophomore in 2011, Saunders led Fresno State in receptions (50), receiving yards (1,065), receiving touchdowns (12) and total touchdowns (14, two of them rushing). For that, he was named first-team All-WAC following the season.
How big of a role Saunders will play in the Red River Shootout game this weekend vs. Texas remains to be seen.