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Oklahoma State 2019 Grades: Cowboys Secondary Full of Playmakers

In 2020, OSU might be as deep in its secondary as we’ve see in years.



The Cowboys came into 2019 boasting a nice mix of veteran experience and playmaking youth in the back end of its defense. The group mostly performed up to expectations, despite a couple of hiccups, and an absolute star was born in safety Kolby Harvell-Peel.

Let’s grade the Cowboys secondary for its 2019 season.

140-Character Summary: After A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams grabbed most of the preseason headlines for OSU’s secondary, Kolby Harvell-Peel burst onto the scene as the Cowboys’ next star DB. And he’s just a sophomore.

Best Performance: Iowa State. The Cowboys made Brock Purdy look like Joel Lanning in the pocket, and did so when the Cowboys badly needed a win. Harvell-Peel recorded six pass breakups (breaking Darrent Williams’ OSU record) and Purdy threw a career-high three interceptions and recorded a season-low 110.3 passer rating.

Worst Performance: Texas Tech. We throw a lot of the blame for OSU’s hellish trip to Lubbock on Spencer Sanders, and rightly so, but its secondary got torched in the second half by someone named Jett Duffey. Texas Tech lit up the Pokes for 424 passing yards (its 2019 Big 12 high) and four touchdowns including eight passing plays of at least 20 yards.

Best Play: I’m going to go with a series of plays and just say Kolby Harvell-Peel against TCU. He grabbed two interceptions and recovered a fumble to go along with a pair of pass breakups and six tackles.

It was big games like this that put him on the Big 12’s map and earned him all-conference honors.

Stat that matters: 5/13 — Harvell-Peel’s five interceptions are the most by a Cowboy since Justin Gilbert’s seven in 2013, and his 13 pass breakups rank T9th for a season at Oklahoma State. Some pretty good company to be in.


Bullet stickers (out of 10): 7.5. I think that’s pretty generous considering the Cowboys, again, got roasted by someone named Jett Duffey. Overall, the unit was solid and showed a ton of promise for next year and beyond.

The Future: Bright. The Cowboys will be without three-year starting corner A.J. Green due to exhausted eligibility. His fellow cover man the last nearly 40 games has yet to make public his decision, but there’s a good chance Rodarius Williams will return for his senior season. The Cowboys also lose Kemah Siverand, and Bryce Balous at cornerback.

OSU doesn’t gradate any safeties and its returning trio of starters in KHP, Tre Sterling and Jarrick Bernard are all just sophomores. There is plenty of young talent ready to take the next step like Jason Taylor II, Sean Michael Flanagan, Tanner McCalister and Kanion Williams.

It seems like OSU has inadvertently worked into this groove of trading off a reloading cornerback group with a reloading safety group. Two years ago, Green and Williams cut their teeth with Tre Flowers and Ramon Richards in centerfield. This year OSU’s other Big 3 came into their own with those two vets on the outside. If Williams sticks around, Oklahoma State’s defense may be as deep and talented on the back end as we’ve seen in years.

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