The biggest question for Mike Gundy and Co. heading into this fall (that doesn’t involve who’s taking snaps at QB), is how to replace all of OSU’s starting experience, and most of its playmaking, along the defensive line.
So look for one of the most experienced and accomplished among that unit, senior DE Mike Scott, to get every opportunity to produce.
Player: Mike Scott
DE Room: Brock Martin, Tyler Lacy, Braden Cassity. Coming this fall: Trace Ford and Kody Walterscheid (incoming freshmen), Kyle Junior (transfer)
Scott came to Oklahoma State ahead of last season from Trinity Valley Community College as the No. 4 weakside defensive end from the junior college ranks and the No. 54 overall juco prospect in the cycle.
He started his college career at SMU, which he chose over a handful of high-major offers, but left the program shortly thereafter and took the junior college route. The raw talent and athleticism was there. He even drew interest from Kasey Dunn as a wideout.
As a junior in 2018, Scott appeared in 12 games in a reserve role but was productive when given the opportunity. His three sacks lead all returning Cowboys and ranked third on last year’s team behind Jordan Brailford and Jarrell Owens. That’s impressive for someone who didn’t register a start but underlines the dearth of experience along OSU’s defensive line.
With Scott’s playmaking ability and speed off the edge, his ceiling is that of a team sack leader and all-conference selection, and I don’t think that’s hyperbole. With the way Jim Knowles likes to draw up blitzes and get after opposing QBs — and with the depth in the Cowboys secondary — Scott should be able to pin his ears back and attack plenty this year.
On the other hand, it’s always possible that Scott gets beat out for a starting spot. Last we heard he is still sharing reps with redshirt sophomore Brock Martin. With a limited sample size to go on, it’s hard to know for sure how Scott (or Martin) will react to the increased workload. Starter or not, there will be reps to be had. The question will be who makes the most of their’s. I have a feeling they’ll both do just fine.
During the spring, Martin indicated that it was tight competition between the two and even seemed to expect the competition to go all through fall camp and spill over into the season opener.
“Mike’s been doing great this spring,” Martin said. “I think we’ll probably split reps. For the next couple of weeks of spring ball, we’ve been splitting reps. [In] fall camp we’ll probably do the same thing and first game of the season I guess we’ll see where we’re at.”
But competition breeds success more times that not. Even if the Cowboys don’t have a bonafide star coming in to fill that void left by Jordan Brailford, having a dynamic duo of playmakers that you can rotate in and out might be almost as good.
Knowles spoke with reserved optimism about the pair this spring.
“I think we can be dynamic with Brock Martin and Mike Scott kind of taking over for Jordan (Brailford),” said Knowles. “I think those two guys together will be dynamic, and (we have) a lot of good young players coming up inside, but they’re going to have to prove themselves.”
Wherever he ends up on the depth chart, look for Mike Scott to have a big role on Jim Knowles’ defense as it adjusts to the post-Jordan Brailford era.