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OSU’s Receiver Depth, Experience Should Be a Strength in 2022

Young receivers took their lumps in 2021, but that should pay off in 2022 and beyond.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys will be without Tay Martin, their leading receiver from last season. But, overall, the group should be stronger, deeper and more formidable in 2022.

As Oklahoma State kicked off Week 2 of spring practice, Mike Gundy was questioned about the state of his wide receiver group which was thin and green at the beginning of 2021. A lot of youngsters were thrown into the fire early and there were some growing pains, but ultimately he said he thinks that will bode well for the offense this fall.

“Well, we’ll benefit from it,” said Gundy. “It was scary last year, as you all know, but we’ll benefit from it because they had live reps. There is no substitute for live reps and experience, and that’s what they gained. So now they should play faster in practice and the game should should slow down for them some. Last year they’re just scrambling to get lined up and function.”

Oklahoma State’s offense stumbled out of the gate in 2021, thanks in large part to that decimated receiving corps. As the Cowboys got healthy and more experienced at wideout, the points went up.

Fortunately, last year’s OSU defense was one of the best in the country and was able to buoy the Pokes while the offense got its kinks worked out. Now, with some turnover on defense — both at coordinator and playmaker — the hope is that OSU’s offense can start off with a bang.

“Well, hopefully we won’t be as thin,” Gundy said. “We ran into some issues preseason, which is scary. Hopefully we won’t have that issue, and we’ll have more depth and we won’t have to play young players that aren’t ready to get on the field.”

While injury concerns are omnipresent in sports, the biggest question remaining is who Spencer Sanders will look to as his No. 1 option. There are some enticing candidates starting with leading returning receiver Brennan Presley. He hauled in 50 passes for 603 yards and five scores in the air. He’s also one of the more dangerous return men in the country.

Somewhat unbelievably, the speedy slot man is a junior and one of the leaders of the receiving group this spring. He’s happy with how the group looks so far and he’s taken on that leadership role.

“I’ve just been trying to teach the younger guys what I know because at the end of the day we’re all a team and you want everyone to succeed and everyone to get better,” said Presley. “So, whatever I can do give down to help anybody, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Presley is joined by redshirt senior Braydon Johnson who looked poised for a featured role last year but was hampered due to injury. Langtson Anderson is also an upperclassman who should figure in for increased reps. Aside from them, are a slew young wideouts who should benefit from those early reps last season.

“Spring has been really good,” said Presley on Monday. “We have a bunch of older guys stepping up since the seniors left, and we have a bunch of new guys stepping in from the freshmen that have come early. It’s been really cool to see the older guys giving to the younger guys and them learning what it means to be an OSU Cowboy.”

Jaden Bray is one of the young receivers that Gundy referred to above who could vie for Martin’s vacated deep threat role. He showed he was capable of making plays in his first collegiate outing. In Week 1 against Missouri State, the true frosh caught two passes for 52 yards. A week later, he caught four for 84, including his first touchdown. He also had three catches in the Big 12 Championship game and a nine-yard touchdown catch in the Cowboys’ Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.

“It’s almost like day and night,” said Presley of Bray’s rookie success. “Just being able to come in here, especially at a Division-1 level, to come in here with two years of football. To most people, it would’ve been intimidating, but he’s came in here rolling with full effect. He’s stepped in, he’s made plays, he’s not scared of the moment at all, he embraces it and he works on his game all the time. I think with his maturity and his raw athletic ability, the sky is the limit for him.”

Expect other young receivers like John Paul Richardson, Rashod Owens, and Bryce and Blaine Green to look another year older and more seasoned. Each has shown flashes of playmaking ability. If the group, as a whole, takes the next step, OSU could have one of the more salty receiving corps in the Big 12.


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