Sooners' Gresham just getting better and better

Mike Moguin

Jermaine Gresham is just one of many reasons why the Oklahoma Sooners are expected to be in the national championship race this season.

The Ardmore product is producing a stellar career for OU as a tight end. The amazing catches he makes astonishes people and comes as no surprise to Ardmoreites.

Tiger fans got to watch him score what seemed like easy touchdown grabs in the end zone numerous times when he was in high school. But Gresham didn’t exactly have to strive to keep those skills like most college athletes do when they arrive on campus.

He just got better, thanks to the help of his mentors.

“It really wasn’t that (a challenge to maintain his skills),” Gresham said. “Because the coaches I got here helped me improve on that. They made me even better than what I was before. It wasn’t too hard because the great coaches helped me improve with what I can do.

“I think I understand the game a whole lot better. I think I have a better understanding of the game of football. (Strength coach Jerry Schmidt) got me in the top physical peak I’m in right now, so I’m an all-around football player because of the university.”

The numbers back it up.

In his sophomore year, Gresham’s 11 touchdowns in 2007 were more than any tight end in one season in school history. That’s right, more than Keith Jackson or Trent Smith.

Some of his top performances last year consisted of a career-high eight receptions against Miami, two TDs against Texas and a career high of four against Texas A&M.

“It was real big to score those TDs in the A&M game,” Gresham said. “I just thanked my coach for a great a game plan. Those touchdowns could have gone to anybody, whether it be Joe Jon (Finley) or Brody (Eldridge). They could have done that. I just happened to get  my number called and it worked out well.”

“Guys like Jermaine Gresham, we’ll have to find more ways to him the football,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in regards to the 2008 season Wednesday at media day.

Gresham was named honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated and honorable mention in the Big 12 last year.

In his freshman year, he had a tremendous impact that included a key grab in a 99-yard scoring march in the Sooners’ win against Nebraska in the Big XII Championship game.

Now he hopes to make more contributions this season in helping Oklahoma win another Big 12 Championship, and hopefully, a national championship.

“It feels real good being able to go out there with my team and do anything I can do to help, and being part of something so special,” Gresham said.

Quick Hits

* When Gresham heard of Mike Loyd leaving Ardmore High School for  a job in Florida, he was happy for his high school coach.

“I talked to him all the time,” Gresham said. “If he likes it down there and thinks he can better himself down there with an opportunity, I’m all for him. He is a great coach. He taught me all I need to know. He is reason why I’m here today. I would be playing college football if it wasn’t for him, so I’m very happy or him.”

* The Tiger product sees a lot of his old high school friends daily.

“All the time,” he said. “There is a whole bunch of Ardmore people here. I probably see about half my graduating class up here. I see my boy Austin Williams almost every day and I see Steven Lee all the time.”

Williams and Lee were high school teammates of Gresham’s.

The Daily Ardmoreite