OU's Shepard opens Bedlam chasing father's legacy
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Friday, November 23, 2012
11/23/12 at 6:01 AM
For more Bedlam stories.
NORMAN - Sterling Shepard continues to learn more about his father's Oklahoma football legacy.
Recently, the talented OU freshman was told about his father Derrick Shepard's impact during his 1983 Bedlam debut game.
Derrick Shepard sparked a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Oklahoma State with a dazzling 73-yard touchdown reception with 10 minutes left, helping ignite an 18-point fourth quarter in an improbable 21-20 win.
"I've always known as a little kid how big he was to the program," said Sterling Shepard, days before making his Bedlam debut this Saturday. "Now I'm trying to make my mark."
Sterling Shepard has shined in 2012. The OKC Heritage Hall graduate has 32 receptions for 484 yards and three touchdowns. He is one of only seven OU freshmen to have topped 100 receiving yards in a game.
The younger Shepard's big game came in a 24-19 loss against Kansas State. The true freshman had a team-high seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
A former teammate of Derrick Shepard has seen similarities that go beyond the No. 3 that the father-son combination have shared as Sooners.
"He reminds me so much of his father in the way that he runs," said former OU quarterback Jamelle Holieway, whose first TD pass was to Derrick Shepard. "He gives 110 percent with or without the ball being in his hands. When you look at old film, you will see Derrick Shepard's shoulder pads go side-to-side and Sterling does the exact same thing.
"To see No. 3 out there, it just brings back chills."
Do fans often tell him that he is a reminder of his father, who passed away in 1999?
"I get it quite a bit," Shepard said. "My mom always tells me that. I get a lot on Facebook and Twitter."
Shepard still hadn't seen the 73-yard touchdown reception, but got a video package of his father's top plays over the summer. Growing up, he only had one video and he constantly watched that.
On Saturday, Shepard will race onto the Memorial Stadium field for the sixth and final time in 2012. He's enjoyed it from day one.
"When I first got the experience of walking out of the tunnel, it was even better than I dreamt it was," Shepard said.
And what about playing in a rivalry game on Saturday?
"They live up to the hype," he said. "The Texas game was crazy running out."
At Owen Field, Norman
2:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430, KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Shepard chasing OU legacy
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
OU freshman receiver Sterling Shepard has 32 catches for 484 yards and three touchdowns this season. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World