John Hoover

NFL bound: Plenty of Sooners prospects project to make it at the next level

NFL bound: Plenty of Sooners prospects project to make it at the next level

Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Mark Andrews came to Oklahoma to be a wide receiver. But he will be going the NFL as a tight end.

The Sooners’ first Mackey Award winner fits in the mold of OU’s all-time greats, such luminaries as Jermaine Gresham and Keith Jackson. He’s a classic mismatch for defenses — too big for defensive backs, too fast for linebackers — who combines a dishwasher’s hands with a lumberjack’s frame.

The NFL loves tight ends, and the NFL is going to love Mark Andrews.

Andrews is widely projected to be a first-round pick on April 26 because he’s 6-foot-5, 254 pounds, and in three seasons in Norman, he caught 112 passes for 1,765 yards and 22 touchdowns. Andrews is a prototype modern tight end — big and strong enough to handle his business as a blocker on the edge, nimble enough to average 15.8 yards per catch in college, and savvy enough to play multiple positions.

“Being able to be this size and being able to catch the ball and move around and separate from DBs and linebackers has been a huge help,” said Andrews. “And I think it shows this year because I’m definitely bigger, stronger, (and) I’m the same speed.”

This year, Andrews led the Sooners with 62 catches for 958 yards and eight touchdowns. The OU receiving corps was led by Sterling Shepard and Dede Westbrook the previous two seasons, but with both of them off to the NFL, Andrews embraced a larger role in Lincoln Riley’s first season as head coach.

“Obviously this year, the time (was) right for me,” said Andrews. “I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities and (am) taking advantage of them.”

Andrews, projected by ESPN’s Mel Kiper as the second-best tight end in this draft, is one of a handful of Sooners expected to be taken in either the first or second round come April.

To read the rest of John E. Hoover’s OU draft preview in the March edition of Sooner Spectator Magazine, click here:

John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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