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Position Previews: Who Will Step Up to Lead OSU’s WR Corps?

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Oklahoma State said goodbye to the program’s all-time leading receiver and Biletnikoff winner James Washington, as well as another 1,000-yard receiver in Marcell Ateman and a very solid playmaker in Chris Lacy. The task of replacing that type of production and leadership is no small one, even at a place like OSU where dynamic pass catchers seem to abound in limitless supply.

Let’s take a dive into the Cowboys’ receiving corps. Also be sure to check out our previous position previews.

RB | CB | DL

Total receivers: 17

Newcomers for 2018: Jonathan Shepherd, Taje Williams, Malik Givens, C.J. Moore, Jacob Morris, Elden Coleman

Projected starters: Dillon Stoner, Jalen McCleskey, Tyron Johnson, Patrick McKaufman
Projected backups: Tylan Wallace, LC Greenwood, Landon Wolf,

Player I’m most excited about: Tyron Johnson. This one is too obvious. We saw glimpses of his playmaking ability last season like when he broke the seal on OSU touchdowns against Tulsa or when he spelled Washington in Bedlam.

He never really got enough burn to really show what he could do consistently. Whether that was just because of the aforementioned seniors ahead of him on the depth chart, or just he and/or Gundy getting out of their worlds is hard to tell. But the path is now cleared for him to carve a giant ? into the west end zone at BPS. Mike Gundy seems to think he’s ready.

Player who has the opportunity to surprise: Patrick McKaufman. The buzz around Stillwater indicates that the 6-foot-6, 200-pound redshirt sophomore walking mismatch has quickly acclimated himself to the Division I level.

McKaufman came to OSU by way of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M where he went with the intention of continuing his career as a quarterback. After making the switch to receiver and impressing at OSU’s junior college camp, McKaufman earned a scholarship offer based on upside alone.

OSU would like to replicate the success it had with the rangy Marcell Ateman on the outside and in the red zone and among the candidates, he and incoming freshmen C.J. Moore and Jonathan Shepherd, McKaufman seems like he’s the most ready.

What concerns me about this group: Any concern over the success of this group is more a reflection of the uncertainty at quarterback. Until we know exactly who and how the QB position will play out, it’s hard to really put a ceiling on OSU’s passing game in general.

Strengths/weaknesses of this group: Its strength would be the amount of remaining talent it has despite the losses of Washington, Ateman and Lacy. The weakness, if there is one, is the lack of proven star talent. That may be a moot point now with plenty of targets available to birth the next ttar

Johnson has potential. Dillon Stoner might just be the best overall receiver and Jalen McCleskey has been nothing but productive and sure-handed his entire career — his special teams snafus notwithstanding.

Overall, the group looks to be deep and talented with a good mix of veteran leadership and young upside. It will probably take a small step back after losing its first pair of quadruple-digit receivers, but I’m sure most coaches in the country would take this bunch in a “rebuilding year.”

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