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Role Play: Jarrick Bernard Back with Experience in Year 2

A breakdown of OSU’s freshmen leader in tackles last season.

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Jarrick Bernard is back for Round 2 and a year better for it.

Oklahoma State’s group of safeties was almost comically inexperienced in 2018. The group took some lumps but enter this year with some much needed snaps under their belts. Bernard is the next player we’ll look at in our Role Play series.

Profile

Player: Jarrick Bernard
Position: Safety
Number: 24
Height: 6-2
Weight: 195

Safety Room: Tanner McCalister, Tre Sterling, Kanion Williams, Sean Michael Flanagan, David Thibodeaux-Benoit, Malcolm Rodriguez, Jason Taylor II, Kolby Harvell-Peel, Kris McCune

Background

Bernard came to OSU out of Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, a high school program that has a reputation of having its Division I prospects on-field ready. After winning a state championship as a junior, Bernard had two interceptions in the state semifinals in 2017, in what would be the final game of his career.

He played in all 13 games as a freshman at OSU last season, being one of three true freshmen safeties to not redshirt. Bernard started OSU’s final nine games and finished the year with 59 total tackles. That number led OSU’s freshmen and was fifth overall on the team. His best game of the year probably came against Texas Tech. Against the Red Raiders, Bernard had 14 tackles and an interception. He also blocked a punt against Boise State.

Ceiling/Floor

You have to imagine it’s only up from here for Bernard, and that has to be a terrifying thought for opposing offenses.

OSU playing so many freshmen at safety last season was out of necessity, but entering year two in Jim Knowles’ system, guys like Bernard and Kolby Harvell-Peel have more than earned their places on the field.

Bernard and Harvell-Peel were different players at the end of 2018 than they were at the beginning. That level of growth might start to slow down a little bit, but if they can get close to it this season, look out.

Expectations/Role

A lot more is going to be expected out of OSU’s secondary in 2019 for a few reasons.

One of those reasons is the group is more experienced as a whole. The Cowboys have two veteran corners and guys like Bernard, Harvell-Peel and Malcolm Rodriguez all have more experience. But the group might be asked to do more this season with the inexperience of OSU’s defensive line and depth questions at linebacker.

It’s a total role reversal for Jim Knowles’ group where the front half of the defense was asked to pick up extra slack last season, and the back half might have to do so in 2019.

Although he is more experienced, Bernard is also still a sophomore. I’m not sure this is a time to expect Tre Flowers levels of production, but Bernard and the safety group as a whole is definitely headed in the right direction.

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