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Notebook: Kirkland ‘Squatting Houses,’ Roberson’s Return, One to Watch For

‘He’s over here benching and squatting houses almost.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — In just a hair over three weeks, the Cowboys will be playing football again.

Oklahoma State held its in-house media day last Saturday. We covered quite a bit from the day, but here are three leftovers I had that didn’t exactly fit anywhere else.

‘He’s over Here Benching and Squatting Houses Almost’

Every year tales of weight room freaks come out of the Cowboys’ summer training. This year’s lifter of heavy objects seems kind of obvious: Justin Kirkland.

A Utah Tech transfer defensive tackle, Kirkland is listed at 6-foot-4, 346 pounds. Offensive lineman Jason Brooks Jr. made note of Kirkland’s physical prowess at media day last week, and Brooks discussed how good it is for OSU’s offensive line that they go up against a brick wall like Kirkland every day.

“Justin Kirkland is crazy,” Brooks said. “I saw a video before he got here, when he committed, he was benching 225 for like 40-something, 50 reps. It’s crazy. He got here, and he’s over here benching and squatting houses almost.

“He gets me better every day. Having somebody on the team that you get to practice against, it does nothing but make it easier when you get in the game. We both give each other great competition every day. He’s a great guy. It’s been good having him here.”

Roberson Discusses Missing Last Season

OSU coach Mike Gundy has made passing mentions of Jeff Roberson for a few years now, but 2023 could be the time where OSU fans get to know what Gundy is talking about.

A 6-foot-1, 230-pound redshirt junior linebacker from Choctaw, Roberson missed OSU’s entire 2023 season with a foot injury. He played in 12 games in 2021 — primarily on special teams — where he had four tackles. He also played in four games in 2020 before ultimately redshirting.

With OSU using three linebackers this season (and some turnover at the position), this could be Roberson’s time to get some run. And after missing an entire season, Roberson said he won’t take the year for granted.

“My teammates, all them, always helping me out through everything,” Roberson said. “Watching them go play was obviously cool. Being away from the game and watching from a different perspective was cool because you can see the ins and outs of what’s going on, and you understand that I love football. I love this game. You can’t take it for granted.”

One to Watch For in the Future

To get a pulse of fall camp, I like to ask veterans if there is a guy that the fanbase doesn’t know a ton about yet that they soon will.

Before I could even finish asking Xavier Benson, he had his answer.

“Gabe Brown,” Benson said. “Gabe Brown. Man, people don’t know Gabe, but when you know Gabe, you know Gabe. Instincts — I don’t know how to explain it. He just knows. He knows football. It clicks for him. You don’t have to tell him twice. He’ll work real hard, especially in the gym. He takes a lot of attention to the details. He’s always watching. He’s always there.

“I always tell Gabe the same thing: I can’t wait to see you shine.”

For the uninitiated, Brown is a redshirt freshman linebacker out of Stillwater High. He is listed at 6-foot-2, 224 pounds entering the 2023 season. As a true freshman last year, Brown earned a scout team player of the week and played against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

He was a three-star prospect in the 2022 class and picked Oklahoma State over offers from Baylor, Texas Tech and others.

When he does burst onto the scene like Benson expects, know Benson bought the stock early.

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