“CeeDee Lamb is a very, very talented natural athlete. He’s a guy that just kind of has that ‘it’ factor on the outside as a receiver… You talk about ball skills being able to go up in the air and get the ball and attack it. He’s a guy that he’s going to be able to make a lot of plays, but the thing that I most respect out of him is … (he has) that you call the dog in you. So I think CeeDee just has that dog factor. When he steps on the field it’s straight business. He’s a guy that you’d like to have in your locker room because he’s always smiling and having a good time and he’s friends with everybody on the team but at the same time when he steps on the field there’s a switch that flips on. I respect that out of him so I’ll be pushing and with the one year I have with him I expect a lot out of him… CeeDee Lamb is a very, very talented natural athlete. He’s a guy that just kind of has that ‘it’ factor on the outside as a receiver… To have a young guy that you’re able to rely on when he steps on the field in a big game like that and not even faze him at all has been huge for us, That’s the type of leadership and playmaking ability we look for.” – Baker Mayfield, 2017 Heisman Award winner, Overall NFL #1 Draft Pick, King of the “it” factor.
Lamb played his high school ball in Richmond, Texas. As a sophomore, he received minimal interest from FBS programs after posting 18-304-4 receiving. Things really picked up on the recruiting front after his junior season where he went 54-1012-10. He committed and de-committed from Oklahoma within the span of several months. According to Tulsa World, “Before his senior season, Lamb posted on Twitter that he wanted to have at least 1,200 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. He ended with 98 receptions for 2,032 yards (fourth-most in state history) and 33 touchdowns (second most in state history). He also returned three punts for touchdowns.” Two of Lamb’s high school coaches had this to say about him, both as a person and as a player, “He is just a great young man to be around… He’s a guy that I wish he could date my daughter. He’s that kind of guy. I trust him with everything I got. We need more kids like CeeDee Lamb in this world.” – Shaun McDowell “I feel like he’s a complete receiver… He is just a dog on the field. He will go get any ball that’s his on the field. He goes and makes plays. He enjoys the big game atmosphere. I was not surprised when I watched him play at Ohio State and saw how well he performed, especially when they went to him on third downs.” – Ryan Tatum
Based on the way he performed as a high school player, it should come as no surprise that he was able to make his impact felt as an eighteen-year-old true freshman. In his first four collegiate games, he made 15 catches for 281 yards with 3 touchdowns. That’s quite the inaugural month for a young player. For the sake of comparison, Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin has a career stat line of 18-334-3 after three full years of being on campus. As impressive as Lamb’s first four games were, the rest of the year was hindered after he suffered an injury against Iowa State in the fifth week of the season. Lamb laid out in an attempt to score in that game and injured his left shoulder. He showed a lot of toughness and grit as he didn’t miss any games afterward, but he was playing with a bad wing for most the season. He still managed to finish the season with 46-807-7 receiving, breaking and tying multiple Oklahoma receiving records for a freshman.
One of the most remarkable things about Lamb’s freshman season is how he did it with a frame that is more comparable to a high school player’s. Listed before the year at 6’2” and 173 pounds, Lamb needed to beef up to endure the rigors of college football. The Norman Transcript had this to say about Lamb in March of 2018, “Noticeably more stout through his arms and shoulders, Lamb, who is wearing the No. 2 instead of his old No. 9, says he packed on nearly 30 pounds during his first collegiate offseason. He was listed at 173 pounds last August and weighs 203 pounds now, “on a good day.”’ That is great news for the Sooners. Baker Mayfield and his former coaches have previously commented on how he is an alpha when the ball is in the air. That aspect of his game has never been in question, but I believe that with the added weight he will be even more dominant in contested catch situations. Long-speed isn’t his greatest strength and I am now even more curious about how he will move with thirty additional pounds. For some players, that could really hinder their speed. For others, the added muscle on a body that is rapidly maturing into adulthood will help them to increase their speed and burst. That is the great unknown of his game for me at this point.
Even if he won’t ever be a guy that will run 4.4, plays like the one below show he doesn’t need much separation to win. Rare to say this with Mayfield under center but a better ball here and he makes an even more explosive play than he did.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) January 2, 2018
That shouldn’t be confused with the notion that he isn’t dangerous after the catch, he absolutely is. This is the play that he was injured on against Iowa State. You can see after the score that he can’t move his left arm nor celebrate with Dimitri Flowers.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) October 7, 2017
Another play against one of the top defenses in the country. Lamb shows off the confidence and pairs it with good footwork to pick up the first down.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) January 1, 2018
LJ Chaney (@pacificscouting) was generous enough to put together all of his 20+ yard completions in this clip. It shows off his technical proficiency for a freshman as well as his God-given athleticism.
— LJ Chaney (@pacificscouting) December 11, 2017
Pro Football Focus went one step further and charted his entire freshman season, and as you can see, he’s very versatile.
Where Ceedee Lamb won across the route tree last year pic.twitter.com/ens8h38PVG
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 23, 2018
Last but not least, Lamb is a very willing blocker. In my opinion, he is one of best blocking wide receivers of any freshman that I’ve watched in some years.
— Tyson Reed (@Tyson_Reed) September 26, 2017
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) November 26, 2017
Some will point towards Lamb’s productivity and credit Mayfield for most of it. Credit where credit is due; Mayfield was splendid last season. That being said, Lamb has shown this spring that whether it was Kyler Murray or Austin Kendall under center, he’s still the same dominant force he was last season. My money is on him being even more so in 2018. CD3 is a preseason Top 10 CFF WR for me and also my highest rated Devy WR in the 2020 class. Players like him, and Clemson’s Tee Higgins, should be in line for breakout qualifying seasons in 2018 on their way to becoming top NFL prospects. Oklahoma HC Lincoln Riley (future Cleveland Browns HC?) is one of the best offensive minds in football. While they do lose Baker, one of college football’s best players this decade, the potential of seeing what Riley could do with a QB with Murray’s skill set and their returning skill talent has me incredibly excited to get the 2018 season started!