Why transfer TE Jake Roberts makes sense for OU + Nic Scourton’s visit

Why transfer TE Jake Roberts makes sense for OU + Nic Scourton’s visit

The former Norman North standout and Baylor transfer tight end is in the transfer portal. Could Roberts be a fit for the Sooners? Thoughts on that and an upcoming visit from Purdue pass rusher Nic Scourton.

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

| Jan 2, 2024, 4:00pm CST

Eli Lederman

By Eli Lederman

Jan 2, 2024, 4:00pm CST

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s most important New Year’s Day development came at the Sugar Bowl Monday night.

That’s where Sooners’ defensive end Ethan Downs — on hand for a halftime ceremony as a 

2023 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team honoree — threw the “Horns Down” signal on national television. Texas’ 37-31 CFP semifinal loss to Washington went final about two hours later.

OU’s second-most important Jan. 1 development? It came earlier in the day when Baylor tight end Jake Roberts entered the transfer portal. Could the former Norman North standout be a fit in the Sooners’ 2024 tight end room?

Let’s start with the obvious connections.

OU is close to home. Roberts emerged as a three-star prospect and the state’s No. 22 recruit out of Norman North in the class of 2020. The Sooners never offered Roberts. Seven other programs did, including Tulsa, Colorado and Air Force, before he committed to North Texas in 2019.

That’s where Seth Littrell comes in. OU’s freshly promoted play-caller is the head coach Roberts committed to out of high school and the coach he played under three of his seasons with the Mean Green, when Roberts totaled 43 catches for 541 yards and three touchdown receptions.

After Littrell was let go at the end of the 2022 season, Roberts landed at Baylor in 2023. In 12 games he made 23 catches for 231 yards and a score.

Now, Roberts finds himself in the portal again with his former head coach running the offense three miles from his old high school. 

The fit is almost too perfect. But does it make sense for the Sooners to pursue Roberts? It depends on the faith OU has in its current cast of tight ends.

The Sooners have already added one transfer tight end in Southeastern Louisiana’s Bauer Sharp. Four-star signee Davon Mitchell arrives on campus later this month. Expected to return from the 2023 roster are Blake Smith, Josh Fanuiel and Kade McIntyre.

The Sooners have lacked production at tight end since Brayden Willis’ departure after the 2022 season. Per Pro Football Focus, Austin Stogner graded out 123rd among the 133 most targeted tight ends in the country this fall. 

Proceeding without further additions would place a lot of confidence (read: pressure) upon a converted quarterback (Sharp), a reclassified freshman (Mitchell) and the relatively unproven cast behind them. 

Roberts wouldn’t project as a game-breaking addition. But if bolstering the depth at tight end remains a priority, a look at the portal tight end from Norman who has a history with Littrell might be a good place to start.

Scourton set to visit OU

The Big Ten’s 2023 sack leader will be on campus in Norman this weekend.

Purdue transfer pass rusher Nic Scourton is set to visit the Sooners on Saturday, the final stop in four visits in four days for the second-year defensive end. Scourton’s trip to OU will follow visits to Texas A&M (Jan. 3), Florida State (Jan. 4) and Missouri (Jan. 5) as he narrows down his potential landing spots out of the transfer portal.

Scourton stands among the most coveted transfers after logging 10 sacks as a Purdue sophomore, good for first in the Big Ten and tied for ninth nationally in 2023. On3.com ranks Scourton as the nation’s No. 3 available transfer

OU added experienced defensive ends to boost the pass rush last offseason with Wake Forest’s Rondell Bothroyd and Oklahoma State’s Trace Ford. Scourton — who logged 50 total tackles in 2023 — would present an entirely different proposition as an elite, established edge rusher with two years of eligibility remaining. 

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Eli Lederman reports on the University of Oklahoma for Sellout Crowd. He began his professional career covering the University of Missouri with the Columbia Missourian and later worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette before two years writing on the Sooners and Cowboys at the Tulsa World. Born and raised in Mamaroneck, New York, Lederman grew up a rabid consumer of the New York sports pages and an avid fan of the New York Mets. He entered sportswriting at 14 years old and later graduated from the University of Missouri. Away from the keyboard, he can usually be found exploring the Oklahoma City food scene or watching/playing fútbol (read: soccer). He can be reached at [email protected].

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