Oklahoma’s Big 12 title hopes in 2013 have taken a major blow.
Kenny Stills and Tony Jefferson have elected to enter the 2013 NFL draft, a source told ESPN's Joe Schad. Stills, a junior receiver, led the Sooners with 82 receptions for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Jefferson, a junior safety, led OU with 119 tackles.
The loss of Jefferson could be the biggest blow to the Sooners, who made him a major part of their defensive system in 2012. He was the quarterback of the defense, the most productive player and a leader in the secondary. With his decision to leave, OU is faced with the prospect of replacing three of five starters in the secondary in 2013. And All-Big 12 cornerback Aaron Colvin, a junior, might still elect to join Stills and Jefferson in entering the 2013 draft.
Stills was the most explosive downfield threat on OU’s offense with his combination of speed and size. He started all 38 games of his Sooners career and finished with 204 receptions for 2,594 yards and 25 touchdowns. His decision to leave means OU will have to replace both of its outside receivers with Penn State transfer Justin Brown also ending his collegiate career in the Cotton Bowl.
The Sooners have very few options on campus to replace Jefferson, which means several newcomers could be asked to play immediately, including current 2013 defensive back commitments Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central East) and Ahmad Thomas (Miami/Central).
The prospect of replacing Stills at receiver is much more promising for the Sooners. True freshman Trey Metoyer, who started the first four games of the 2012 season, is the likely favorite to step in at Stills' receiver spot. Fellow freshman Durron Neal and junior Lacoltan Bester should join Metoyer in the competition to replace Stills in 2013.