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The Oklahoman's Super 30: John Marshall's Bryce Stephens is 'the best receiver in the state, hands down'

John Marshall’s Bryce Stephens is one of the state’s top receivers. He has a wide variety of Division I offers. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
John Marshall’s Bryce Stephens is one of the state’s top receivers. He has a wide variety of Division I offers. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Bryce Stephens has always been a gifted athlete.

So when he switched from quarterback to wide receiver his sophomore year at John Marshall High School, he quickly adjusted to the new position.

“I just wanted to play,” Stephens said. “We already had a nice quarterback so they had to use me somewhere and they put me at receiver. I liked it.”

After learning the steps and routes, Stephens instantly became a dominant force as a receiver almost effortlessly. He routinely made electrifying plays and racked up more than 40 catches and 1,000 receiving yards in his sophomore season.

John Marshall coach Jeff Horrocks, who was the offensive coordinator at the time, chuckled at how laid back his star receiver was despite being a highly gifted athlete.

“I don’t think I heard him talk one time his whole sophomore year,” Horrocks said. “He’d shake his head, ‘Yeah’, and then he’d go do it. But he doesn’t have to be a vocal guy. Because when he walks on the field people ultimately say, ‘I want to be like that guy. I want to do what he can do.’”

There are not many athletes that can do what Stephens does on the football field. In 2019, Stephens posted a video on Twitter of him running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds during a camp at Oklahoma State.

With his speed, he shines on multiple sides of the football for John Marshall as a wide receiver, defensive back and punt returner.

It’s why Stephens is No. 7 on The Oklahoman’s 2021 Super 30 list of top football recruits in the state. As a 6-foot-2, 170-pound wide receiver, he led John Marshall with 25 catches, 570 yards and seven touchdown receptions through 11 games played in his junior season. He also rushed 20 times for 234 yards and three scores.

Defensively, he nabbed 25 tackles and five interceptions.

Stephens has offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and many others that span across Power Five conferences such as the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten. In total, 24 schools have offered the three-star prospect, according to Rivals. Horrocks, who spent 14 years coaching at the college level, said he believes there are more to come.

“He’s the best receiver in the state, hands down,” Horrocks said. “Even when I wasn’t here, after the year I had with him, I still thought he was the best receiver. Because he’s just so dynamic that you could throw him a bubble screen and he can take it 80 (yards) at any moment. That’s what makes him unbelievably special.”


The Oklahoman’s 2021 Super 30

Name: Bryce Stephens

School: John Marshall

Super 30 ranking: No. 7

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 170 pounds

Position: Wide Receiver

Offered by: Baylor, Iowa State, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Washington State and 14 others.


About the series

The Oklahoman’s Super 30 feature series will spotlight each high school football player on the Super 30 recruit rankings for the 2020 class. The series continued Monday with No. 7, John Marshall’s Bryce Stephens. See No. 6 on the list in Tuesday’s editions of The Oklahoman.

Here are the last five players we’ve featured:

No. 11: Aden Kelley, OL/DL, Thomas

No. 10: Jaden Bray, WR, Norman

No. 9: Jordan Mukes, DB, Choctaw

No. 8: Keuan Parker, DB, Tulsa Washington

No. 7: Bryce Stephens, WR/DB, John Marshall

James Jackson

James D. Jackson joined The Oklahoman in January 2020 to cover high school sports. He a University of Central Oklahoma graduate. During his time at UCO, James served as a sports reporter and Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Vista.... Read more ›