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A Look at OSU’s Position Battles on Defense



We’ve already looked at three position battles on offense that need to be sorted out this week. Now let’s turn our eyes to defense and special teams.


It’s been the most-asked question for Oklahoma State since losing seniors Ashton Lampkin and Lenzy Pipkins last year. How good will Oklahoma State be at cornerback? The mystery increased with senior corners Ramon Richards and Darius Curry moving to safety.

After practice on Wednesday, Mike Gundy talked about what he likes about his secondary and why it could be on the right track moving forward.

“We’ve had to move guys around back there for a number of years and I think now we’ve finally settled on some young players that can stay there and have the bodies to play that position for a number of years,” said Gundy.

Those bodies are virtually all 6 foot-plus and rangy and athletic — traits needed to cover some of the outside threats Big 12 teams will throw at you.

More exciting than their measureables is the actual skill that guys like A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams possess. Glenn Spencer even told PFB that moving Ramon Richards to safety was partially motivated by a desire to get some of these young corners on the field.

“Ramon’s all about what’s best for us,” Spencer told PFB. “To get the best 11 on the field, that’s the best move.”

Add in Adrian Baker, the most experienced of the bunch, who was slated to contribute on last year’s national championship defense before he got injured. And Madre Harper is aggressive and can make plays as well. Those would be my educated guess for the top four but expect some fluidity on the depth chart.

While the coaching staff likes what they’ve seen from their young corners, to expect zero growing pains would be unrealistic and unreasonable. But what we’ve heard from the coaching staff and other players is promising for the corner position moving forward.

Predicted Depth Chart
Name Class Height Weight
1 A.J. Green So. 6-1 180
2 Rodarius Williams R-Fr. 6-0 180
3 Adrian Baker Sr. 5-11 180
4 Madre Harper So. 6-1 190
Bryce Balous R-So. 5-11 185
Malik Kearse Sr. 6-0 170
Lamarcus Morton Fr. 6-1 165
Javarius Barksdale-Blair R-Fr. 6-0 175
Place Kicker

There is some good news on this front. It appears that long-range threat Matt Ammendola has made strides since the start of fall camp. Early in the spring, Mike Gundy said “Philly” was perfect on the long kicks but lacked consistency on the short, intermediate attempts. Reminds me of a certain Heisman candidate.

Following OSU’s second fall scrimmage, Gundy talked about Ammendola’s progress.

“Matt’s doing good,” said Gundy. “I like the timing of his kicks. Our protection’s been good. He looks comfortable in my opinion. I think he’s developed. It helped that he was kicking last year, even in a kickoff role. I think that kind of helped him through the adjustment of playing in what would be a pressure situation. Kickers are always in pressure situations so I like where he’s at at this time.”

Behind the walk-on Ammendola is true freshman Jake McClure, an incoming scholarship kicker who was ranked as the No. 40 kicker in the 2017 class by ESPN and the No. 8 punter by 247 Sports.

We know Ammendola has the leg. His one kick attempt last year was good from 53 yards and tied for fourth-best in OSU history. If he can handle the pressure and stay consistent it will go a long way in shoring up a crucial but overlooked need for the Cowboys.

Predicted Depth Chart
Name Class Height Weight
1 Matt Ammendola R-So. 5-9 195
2 Jake McClure Fr. 6-3 195
3 Matt Hockett R-Jr. 6-2 215
4 Kevin Mahon R-Sr. 6-0 195
Kick/Punt Returner

With all the playmakers on OSU’s roster, there is really no excuse for us not to see an exciting return or two this season. I have a feeling we’ll see more than that.

Tyron Johnson is the first name that comes to mind. He already announced he would be involved in both kick and punt returns. Jalen McCleskey, it appears. will remain in the mix on punts. Expect someone like LD Brown to get a chance as well.

If he doesn’t redshirt — I think he will — Chuba Hubbard could showcase his world-class speed in the return game. He’s gotten some burn at the position so far in fall camp. Throw in obvious stud Tylan Wallace or Dillon Stoner or Ja’Ron Wilson. Like I said, the Cowboys have no shortage of playmakers.

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