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Oklahoma State 2021 Spring Football Preview: Secondary

OSU’s defense has all the tools to continue on its upward trajectory.



[Photo via Bruce Waterfield, Oklahoma State Athletics]

Oklahoma State lost its best cover man in Rodarius Williams to the NFL, but returns pretty much everyone else on the back end of its much-improved 2020 defense. That could make for an exciting 2021.

As we wind down our spring position previews, let’s take a gander at OSU’s vaunted secondary.

Other Previews: QB | WR | RB | CW | OL | DL | LB

The Safety Room

Kolby Harvell-Peel, Sr., 6-0, 215
Tre Sterling, Sr., 5-11, 195
Jason Taylor II, R-Jr., 6-0, 215
Kanion Williams, R-Jr., 6-0, 190
Tanner McCalister, Sr., 5-11, 195
Sean Michael Flanagan, R-Jr., 6-1, 210
Trey Rucker, 6-0, 195
Lyrik Rawls, Fr., 6-1, 205
Nick Session, R-Fr., 6-0, 190
Ty Williams, Fr., 6-0, 190

The Cornerback Room

Christian Holmes, R-Sr., 6-1, 205
Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Sr., 6-1, 200
Jabbar Muhammad, So., 5-10, 175
Korie Black, So., 6-0, 185
Jordan Reagan, R-Fr., 6-1, 184
Demarco Jones, R-So., 6-0, 185
DeSean Buckner, R-Fr., 6-0, 205
Cole Stanley, R-Fr., 5-10, 175
Anthony Jimmerson, R-So., 5-10, 175

On the Way

Kendal Daniels, 6-4, 190
De’Kelvion Beamon, 6-1, 180
Raymond Gay, 5-10, 175
Cam Smith, 6-1, 175
Makale Smith, 6-0, 165

Top Storyline: Things You Can’t Coach

Recently, Mike Gundy talked about the strengths of his team being experience, toughness and leadership, three things you he said you can’t coach. Those three attributes perfectly describe OSU’s secondary.

At Safety: Kolby Harvell-Peel may be OSU’s best returning player on either side of the ball. Tre Sterling is a proven playmaker and boasts 21 starts of his own. Tanner McCalister is an established starter with a chance to build on his strong 2020 season. Backing them up are established playmakers Jason Taylor II and Thomas Harper.

At Corner: Despite losing Rodarius Williams, the Cowboys return Christian Holmes and Jarrick Bernard-Converse as a pair of formidable CBs. Jabbar Muhammad and Korie Black each look primed for a breakout season and then there’s a plethora of younger DBs ready to make their names.

Keep an Eye On: Trey Rucker

On Tuesday, Gundy singled out transfer safety Trey Rucker as a newcomer that has “shown up a bunch in practice.”

The former Wake Forest safety started nine games as a true freshman in the ACC (and was fifth on his team in tackles), but was limited to five games in 2020 thanks to a foot injury.

He’s athletic, experienced and is a proven playmaker — he had an interception in each of the last two seasons — and he’s a good pick for someone who could not only garner some buzz in the Spring Game but also add valuable depth to the secondary this fall.

Key for 2021

A lot of OSU’s defensive success anchored on the ability to trust Rodarius Williams against the other team’s best wideout. That’s not an easy set of cleats to fill, but if the Cowboys can find someone close to that in terms of one-on-one coverage, they could be even better on that side of the field in 2021.

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