To me, the college football season officially kicks off at the Big 12 Media days. Yes, we’re still weeks away from actual games, but we’ll finally have something to talk about after two days of interviews in Frisco.
One of the most interesting things about college football media days is the opportunity to hear from players. And for Oklahoma State, it could be an interesting bunch.
Mike Gundy will be joined by junior running back Justice Hill, senior wide receiver Jalen McCleskey, senior defensive tackle Darrion Daniels, and senior linebacker Justin Phillips.
It’s a brand new crop of Cowboys representing OSU in Dallas from a year ago with three of last year’s players (Rudolph, Washington, Whitener) now gone. This same will be true this year with McCleskey, Daniels and Phillips in their final season of eligibility and Hill eligible to enter the NFL Draft after the 2018 season (knock on wood).
All four will likely be leaders on the offense and defense this coming season, with Hill returning to lead a deep corps of backs for OSU. Hill is expected by many to be in line for a “Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year” caliber year after back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons. Plus, with a new defense and new quarterback, you’d expect OSU to give Hill more than enough opportunities to carry the rock.
Jalen McCleskey will be OSU’s most experienced and leading returning receiver this season. After spending the past couple of years as the second and third wheel to James Washington and Marcell Ateman, McCleskey will now be given the opportunity to be OSU’s go-to guy. I’ll be interested to see how McCleskey handles the role as leader of the position. It’s a role he has previously said he’s already working in, helping the younger guys get ready for their expanded roles and responsibilities.
Darrion Daniels and Jordan Phillips have both taken on leadership roles this spring. Daniels won OSU’s Vernon Grant Award after last season, given for outstanding leadership, spirit and enthusiasm. I’m excited to hear what he has to say about this new-look defense under Jim Knowles.
I’ll also enjoy hearing from Phillips, who made a move from weakside linebacker to the middle to fill Whitener’s position. He’s been vocally excited about what Knowles has brought to Stillwater, so it will be good to hear what he thinks now that the team has really had time to get to know it.
The Big 12 Media Days are Monday July 16 and Tuesday July 17 at the Dallas Cowboys training center, The Star, in Frisco, Texas. Our own Kyle Porter and Kyle Boone will be in attendance covering the event and bringing you information right here on Pistols Firing Blog.