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Predicting Five Freshmen Who Could Play for OSU in 2018



Mike Gundy said that by Friday, it needs to be solidified which freshmen will play this season.

With the new NCAA ruling allowing athletes to play in four games and still being allowed to redshirt, that throws a new level of strategy in being able to ready a team’s future. In a lot of positions, the Cowboys have enough experience where they will be able to redshirt guys, especially with the new rule.

“We don’t have to play a lot of them in the two-deep right now,” Gundy said Tuesday. “Not like two years ago, I think we played seven or eight or nine guys. We may play three or four guys; I’m not sure, but at this point, not necessarily in the two-deep. So, it’s a little different from what it’s been in years past.”

Gundy said he would guess three or four freshman will play this year, so I figured I’d give myself a bit of a handicap and take a swing at predicting five freshmen who could see action this year.

Tanner McCalister, CB, 5-11, 180

Of the three freshmen corners, Tanner McCalister is a name I’ve probably heard the most about this fall. Gundy named dropped the Heath, Texas native Tuesday as a guy who has jumped out at him behind A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams.

Fellow corner Tyrell Alexander said McCalister had an interception within the first two days of fall camp.

Sean Michael Flanagan, S, 6-2, 195

If you haven’t guessed by now, this list is going to be pretty defensive back-heavy.

Flanagan brings a lot of athleticism to OSU, having played in a lot of spots at Charleston High School in Arkansas, where Rivals had him as the state’s top recruit. Flanagan’s versatility could prove fruitful with new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ 4-2-5, as Flanagan doesn’t seem afraid of contact.

The Cowboys are young at safety with redshirt junior Za’Carrius Green being the only upperclassman in a group that includes five true freshmen.

JayVeon Cardwell, CB, 6-0, 175

Another defensive back, JayVeon Cardwell came to OSU as a three-star prospect from Cibolo Steele High School, the same high school that produced Jordan Sterns and Ryan Simmons.

Cardwell has good ball skills, as he had four interceptions and 11 pass breakups as a senior.

A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams played a lot last, season, but guys like Cardwell, McCalister, Alexander and graduate transfer Kemah Siverand should be able to help lighten the work load.

Spencer Sanders, QB, 6-2, 195

At this point, I would bet on Spencer Sanders redshirting.

However, with the new redshirt rule, Sanders should have the opportunity to prove himself, as long as the Cowboys take care of Missouri State and South Alabama like they should. I could also see Sanders seeing the field against Kansas and the bowl game if he hasn’t used his four allowed redshirt games by that time.

On Tuesday, Gundy said Sanders looked good in the team’s first scrimmage, and people from around the program have heaped praise on how quick Sanders and graduate transfer Dru Brown have picked things up. Still, it seems as if Taylor Cornelius’ campaign is as strong as ever.

Kanion Williams, S, 6-2, 180

Surprise, another DB. I’ll hit a few more buzz words right quick: Jim Knowles, 4-2-5.

By the looks of this list, you’d probably think the Cowboys’ secondary is doomed this season, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The Cowboys have guys like A.J. Green, Rodarius Williams, Za’Carrius Green and Thabo Mwaniki to carry the load, but as a whole, the secondary is thin behind them, which is why I think it’s easier to say guys like Kanion Williams will have a shot to show what they can do.

Williams, out of Dallas, might not be a guy who gets a lot of interceptions, but, based on his highlights, he isn’t afraid to come downhill and make contact.

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