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2017 Fierce 40 Previews: #11 Oklahoma State

by DJ Boyer on Aug. 13, 2017

#11 Oklahoma State Cowboys

2016 Recap:
Oklahoma State stumbled out of the gate 2-2 after losses to Central Michigan and Baylor but righted the ship going 10-3. Oklahoma State capped off the season by waxing Colorado 38-8 in the Alamo Bowl.


Coaching:
Hard to believe Mike Gundy is entering his 13th year at Oklahoma State and is now 50 years old! Gundy is one of the most outspoken coaches at the FBS level and is far from being politcally correct, stating exactly what he feels and when he feels it. Glenn Spencer is tasked with ensuring the defensive catches up with the offense as Oklahoma State should have one of the 10 best offensive attacks at the FBS level but the defense has lagged behind.

 

Offense

Mason Rudolph and James Washington could have both turned pro after last season. The quarterback and wide receiver should be among the top 3-4 picked at their position and depending upon underclass entrants for 2018 they could be tops off the board at both positions. While Washington is the big play threat it is junior Jalen McCleskey that caught the most passes a season ago with 73. This also means defenses cannot just turn their attention to one player or the other. If Oklahoma State makes a go of it this season it will need a balanced attack and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Justice Hill, will have to have a repeat performance of his freshman totals which was 1,142 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. The offensive line is better than many think but depth could be an issue so staying healthy is paramount to Cowboy success.
 

Best Draft Prospects: Mason Rudolph QB 1st Round 2018.

                                       James Washington WR 1st Round 2018.


Defense

Jarrell Owens is turning into a weapon at defensive end and could be a Big 12 First Team defender this year giving the Cowboys their best end since Emmaunel Ogbah. The middle of the line is deeper and the talent will rotate on the field continuously. The Cowboys are not quite as talented at the back of the defense although there is a tremendous amount of game experience there. Tre Flowers and Chad Whitener look like future NFL players who can provide leadership to a unit that needs to improve and get away from being a middle of the pack Big 12 defense.

Best Draft Prospects: Tre Flowers S 5th Round 2018.               

                                       Jarrell Owens DE 6th Round 2019.


Special Teams:

Oklahoma State was the #1 team in the nation last season in opponents starting field position. A big part of this ranking was punter Zach Sinor who is on the radar for the 2019 Draft. The field goal kicking game and return game have been wildly inconsistent for the last two seasons and the primary players at these positions have yet to be set.


Schedule:

It's not a difficult out of conference schedule although traveling to Pittsburgh in week 3 could prove tricky. TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma are all home games while the toughest road contest seems to be West Virginia in the middle of the season although Oklahoma State seems to matchup well with the Mountaineers on paper. Oklahoma State has been guuilty of losing very winnable games or looking ahead on their schedule, if they stay focused and avoid the trip up this could be a BCS squad.


Draft and Overall Outlook:

Rudolph and Washington look to be the top quarterback/receiver combo available and could ride each others coattails to overall top 20 picks in the 2018 Draft. The overall outlook for this season is good but beyond with losing the leadership of Rudolph and Washington looks a bit murky.

 

DJ Boyer