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Scott: Three Things I’m Excited to Learn in Spring Football

On the future at QB, the pass rush and wide receiver depth.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The OSU sports calendar is flying by, as the Cowboy football team will take to the Sherman E. Smith Training Center on Tuesday to start spring practice.

Coming off a Big 12 title game appearance, a 10-4 season and Ollie Gordon introducing himself to the college football world, Oklahoma State has a lot to be excited about heading into the 2024 season. But before the Pokes can get to their game against South Dakota State on Aug. 31, they have to hone their skills and develop this spring and summer. Here are three things I’m interested to learn about this spring.

1. Who Is Coming off the Edge?

The Cowboys mustered 14 sacks in Big 12 play in the first season of Bryan Nardo’s 3-3-5 defense, which tied for ninth in the conference.

Of OSU’s 27 sacks on the whole last season, 14 came from the trio of Collin Oliver, Nickolas Martin and Kendal Daniels — three non-defensive linemen. Then another 7.5 came from the trio of Nathan Latu, Anthony Goodlow and Xavier Benson — three players who will be at the Big 12’s Pro Day this weekend trying to make an NFL roster.

So, basically, who is OSU going to lean on in regards to edge pressure from the defensive line?

The Pokes return Kody Walterscheid, who played 482 snaps last season — the second-most of any defensive lineman behind Goodlow. Good in other areas, the 6-foot-7, 275-pound Walterscheid isn’t a proven sack-getter. He didn’t record a sack last season and has two in his five-year career to this point.

DeSean Brown and Jaleel Johnson impressed as underclassmen last season. The pair of former Oklahoma high school standouts combined for 1.5 sacks last season despite limited snaps. With a year more of experience (and another offseason with Rob Glass), both should certainly be in the mix entering 2024. Xavier Ross is also back after recording his first career sack last season.

The only transfer OSU brought into that room was Gannon transfer Obi Ezeigbo. Listed at 6-2, 245 pounds, Ezeigbo had 7.5 sacks last season at Gannon. It’s more of a matter as to how much of that can translate to the Big 12 level.

The group also has a new position coach in Paul Randolph, so there is a lot to learn with the Cowboys’ defensive front.

2. Who Will Be the 2s at Wide Receiver?

The Cowboys have a star-studded trio returning at wide receiver: Brennan Presley, De’Zhaun Stribling and Rashod Owens. But behind that group is what interests me.

Leon Johnson finished out his eligibility, and Jaden Bray and Blaine Green left via the portal.

Talyn Shettron is a sure-fire answer as to another guy who will get some snaps — just as he was last season before his injury. But aside from him, it’ll be some new names.

The redshirt-freshman class of Jalen Pope, Camron Heard and Tykie Andrews will be interesting to track. As will true freshman Tre Griffiths, who seems to have a ton of upside.

Just look back to last season, it would be rare if OSU got through a year just needing only four receivers. So someone who has yet to catch a college pass will likely need to step up and play a role for the Pokes in 2024.

3. The Future at QB

Alan Bowman returns for a seventh (and final) season, meaning by next season, the Cowboys will have a new starting quarterback.

Impressively, considering it’s the transfer portal era, OSU was able to keep Garret Rangel and Zane Flores through the first portal window and will get a better look at both before having to go one way or the other in 2025. The room also adds Maealiuaki Smith from the high school ranks. With all the youth behind Bowman — a redshirt sophomore, a redshirt freshman and a true freshman — the room has the feeling of Master Splinter providing guidance to the super-talented Ninja Turtles (that reference might be a stretch).

Are we going to find out who the next guy is this spring? Probably not, but it will be nice to get updates on the development of the group.

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