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Five Potential Breakout Stars for 2017



First things first, there will be no Justice Hill this season. With so much talent on the Oklahoma State roster, there just shouldn’t be any opportunity for anyone to “break out” like Hill did last year. With that said, I’m not considering Tyron Johnson. We know he is good. We have known he is good. There will be no surprises.

However, there will undoubtedly be a few youngsters who will have opportunities to earn a few stripes. Here are my top five going into the season.

1. Tylan Wallace – Receiver – Freshman

It should come as little surprise OSU’s top recruit in the 2017 class is at the top of my list.

Wallace has the athleticism to compete right now. He is a mix between Josh Stewart and Jalen McCleskey, with (as he would probably tell you) a lot more swagger.

He probably won’t catch 30 balls but he could definitely finish in the top six among the receivers, which doesn’t sound impressive but actually is phenomenal given who is on this team.

“You got to have a wildcard guy like that,” Gundy told the Tulsa World recently about Wallace. “Because we have to keep three-deep and then somebody’s going to get sick or get dinged, you’ve got to throw somebody in there.”

2. Chuba Hubbard – Running Back – Freshman

When you have an Olympic track star on your football team, big plays are always possible.

Chuba finished fourth in the Youth World Championships with a 100-meter time of 10.55. Usain Bolt’s fastest time was quicker by less than a second.

Hubbard will have to compete with a deep group of unproven running backs behind Hill, but he should get touches and should make plays.

A true home run hitter.

3. A.J. Green – Cornerback – Sophomore

At this point, Green is one of the favorites to start at corner in 2017. Little is known about him which makes him a perfect candidate.

I’ve worn the cornerback position dry to this point with talk about how inexperienced the group of young talent is. But from what we have heard from the coaches, Green has all the potential to make me look like an idiot.

Green intercepted seven passes over his last two years at DeSoto High School and defended 25 more, according to Max Preps. He was a guy who held offers from Oklahoma, Wisconsin and 15 others, so clearly he can play.

You just have to hope he can play at this level.

4. Keenen Brown – Cowboy Back – Redshirt Junior

After waiting behind Blake Jarwin as the top receiving option at cowboy back, Brown could be the quietest, most important piece to the OSU offense in 2017. The X-factor.

Cowboy backs coach Jason McEndoo said there will be a role for the cowboy backs to play this season, despite the overload in receiver talent. He said he didn’t know how big of a role they would play, but whatever role that is, Brown could and probably will fill it. For a player of his size, he has the skill and athleticism of a four-star receiver (because he was coming out of high school). That’s dangerous.

Brown, to me, is much like Martellus Bennett (in his prime). OSU will use him differently by moving him to the backfield for protection, lead blocking and flat routes, but the skillset is similar.

And that makes sense because Brown and Bennett both graduated from Alief Taylor High School in Houston.

5. JD King – Running Back – Freshman

Part of this feels like obligation because I put Chuba No. 1, but King might supply more of an immediate impact.

Coming from Fitzgerald High School in Georgia, King has the makeup of a starting running back. He is about 20 pounds heavier than Justice but ran track as a prep athlete and looks excellent on tape. It’s unclear what his role will be this season, but if he can lock down the No. 2 job, he easily could run for more than 300 yards this season.

Honorable Mention:
  • Calvin Bundage – Linebacker – Sophomore
  • Rodarius Williams – Cornerback – Redshirt Freshman
  • Kris McCune – Safety – Freshman
  • Sione Finefeuiaki – Cowboy Back – Junior
  • Thabo Mwaniki – Safety – Freshman

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