OSU has some big names returning for 2019 like Chuba Hubbard, Tylan Wallace and a pair of passers in Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown ready to duke it out for the spot of QB1. But every year there seems to be a handful of guys who come out of nowhere to make a big impact.
So I tried to glean what info we learned from the spring, combine it with what we knew about OSU following 2018, and I came up with three under-the-radar Pokes ready to take a big step and leave their marks on Lewis Field in 2019.
Kanion Williams — Safety
The former three-star Dallas product was among the first Cowboys to benefit from the NCAA’s new rule allowing up to four games in a redshirt season. Williams hit his limit (mostly on special teams) recording two total tackles, before being shut down by the coaching staff.
After appearing in the season opener against Missouri State, the frosh didn’t see the field until Week 8 against Texas — after Thabo Mwaniki was shut down and shortly before he announced his intention to transfer — and then Williams saw action in the next two games, against Baylor and OU.
Had it not been for that new rule, it appears that Williams would have continued to see his role increase, and it was apparently not an easy decision according to Mike Gundy.
“The total number of plays that he would be involved in, for his career, it’s a better option,” said Gundy. “Selfishly for us, it’d probably be better to play him. You put all the formulas together, the percentages of the plays that he would play with the number of players on the field — it’s not enough to say it’s worth burning a year over, in our opinion.
“If he were to come in and put his foot down and say, ‘It doesn’t matter. It’s my career. I want to play,’ then we will play him.”
That decision could pay off for the Cowboys and for Williams who now has an extra year in the system and an extra year of eligibility. He should get plenty of chances to make a name for himself, probably at the rover safety spot behind starter Kolby Peel.
Braydon Johnson — Wide Receiver
Mike Gundy has already gone on record as saying that redshirt sophomore wideout Braydon Johnson is the fastest guy on the team, even compared to all-world speedster Chuba Hubbard.
“In the 40, I’m just guessing, would be Braydon,” said Gundy during the spring. “If they went go to 100, probably Chuba.”
The Cowboys enjoy an embarrassment of riches at wide receiver just about every year and 2019 is no different. That explains how someone that fast can actually (and literally) fly under the radar. But with a Biletnikoff finalist in Tylan Wallace and the influx of passengers onto the C.J. Moore hype train this spring, not enough of us are talking about Johnson, who I think is due for a big year.
Bryce Bray — Offensive Tackle
Whether it’s Spencer Sanders or Dru Brown taking starter’s snaps, protection will be key. Heading into the summer, it appears to be a two-man race to protect QB1’s blind side between Dylan Galloway, who saw the field in nine games and started the last five, and redshirt freshman Bryce Bray.
Bray, the Bixby, Okla. native, earned loads of praise during the spring for his maturity and his physicality. He saw the field in just one game last year but look for him to be the first of Josh Henson’s high school recruits to carve out a significant role on OSU’s line.