Austin Stogner ran a deep route and turned over his right shoulder, where the football waited for him.
He hauled in the pass easily during Oklahoma’s annual Red-White spring game and stepped out of bounds for a 29-yard gain, with the grace of a more experienced receiver. His 6-foot-6, 237-pound frame provided plenty of space between his body and the defender.
Much is made of OU’s former five-star wideouts Theo Wease, Jadon Haselwood and Trejan Bridges. It’s a wildly talented trio of freshmen.
“You can make it four,” OU coach Lincoln Riley quickly reminded in the spring. "Austin Stogner, there wasn’t a more highly recruited tight end in the country than him.”
Stogner adds more depth to OU’s tight end/inside receiver spot, which has been one of its stronger positions in recent years. He could be a problem for defenses with his size and speed, making the Plano, Texas product a name to watch in the offense for 2019.
“You talk about the size of Stogner. Then Brayden [Willis] and Jeremiah [Hall] and Lee [Morris] and Grant [Calcaterra] coming back from last year,” OU tight ends/H-back coach Shane Beamer said. “We’ve added so much depth to the offense in general, and we’ve added so much size to it as well. You’ll see that show up on special teams and what we’re able to do offensively as well.”
Stogner was a consensus four-star recruit out of Prestonwood Christian School. He accounted for 691 yards receiving and 6 TDs his senior season.
At OU, his position has been increasingly important under Riley. Mark Andrews became the school’s first ever John Mackey Award winner for the nation’s top tight end in 2017.
Calcaterra has been a factor during both his seasons at OU and is a potential candidate to declare early for the NFL Draft. He caught 36 passes for 396 yards and 6 TDs in 2018, and his one-handed catch in the Big 12 championship remains one of the offense’s more memorable highlights.
Stogner is stepping in at the right time if OU loses someone at his spot after this season. Calcaterra has been especially impressed with the freshman, who enrolled early.
The two share a likeness in their size and athletic ability.
“He’s been really good,” Calcaterra said. “It’s been fun to be sort of the older guy and watch him grow and develop. Very long, great catch radius, runs good routes. He’s been blocking well. I’m excited to get to know him more on and off the field.”