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Spring Position Preview: Introducing the Next Great Duo of OSU Defensive Ends

Look out, Big 12 QBs.



We’re just days from the start of Oklahoma State’s spring practice, the unofficial start of college football. Where did the winter go?

While most of the buzz surrounding OSU’s 2020 season surrounds what should be a dynamic offensive attack, it’s an improving defense that will be the biggest factor in whether or not the Cowboys reach their ceiling this fall.

So as we move our spring position previews to the defensive side of the ball, let’s start with a young and exciting group of edge rushers.

Jim Knowles has shown a knack for moving his guys around to different positions up front, but in order to be more thorough — and for more room to gush over Trace Ford — I’ve split up the defensive ends and defensive tackles based on OSU’s roster designation. On to the DEs.

Returning Starters

The Cowboys were without any returning starters along their defensive line at the beginning of last year, but that meant a handful of young players saw time early in their careers which could pay dividends this fall and moving forward.

Tyler Lacy made an immediate impact in 2019, starting in his college debut and in every game except the three he missed with injury. The redshirt sophomore leads all OSU defensive ends with 10 starts.

Brock Martin saw action in all 13 games in 2018 but didn’t make his first start until the Cowboys premiered in Corvallis last year. He started the first seven of OSU’s games and was a key contributor all season.

Trace Ford is a star in the making, or maybe he’s already a star. I try to play it cool, but his ability to make plays as a true freshman incited fandom.

Like this.

And this.

The All-Big 12 honorable mention played in every game and started the last six. He was the only true freshman to start for OSU in 2019 and he paid it off with four tackles for loss, three sacks and that interception. His nine QB hurries were the second-highest ever in a season at OSU. What’s he going to do in Year 2?

Who Else?

The Cowboys have a few more young DEs pushing for reps this spring. Isreal Isuman-Hundley was a three-star 2019 signee who saw time against McNeese and retained his redshirt.

Kody Walterscheid, young brother of former Cowboy end Cole Walterscheid, did the same. If he can make the kind of leaps his brother did physically, he’ll have a chance to contribute soon. He’s already put on 35 pounds since high school.

OSU also added junior college transfer Tyren Irby who was productive in two years at Northwest Mississippi Community College. The Pokes have had some success insert transfers up front, with last year’s departing senior Mike Scott being the most recent.

Number That Matters: 4.5

This returning group of DEs (by Ford and Lacy) accounted for just four of OSU’s 28 sacks a year ago. OSU did most of its getting to the QB from the linebacker spot and the interior of the D-line. Chock some of that up to Knowles’ creative blitzing, but don’t expect that to hold with the exciting youth I mentioned above. Playmakers make plays and OSU has a couple of them.

Outlook: Look Out, Big 12 Passers

Remember that duo of Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean that formed a dynamic duo of edge rushers? The Cowboys are looking at similar situation with Ford and Lacy —  but with possibly a higher ceiling.

I’m going out on the shortest of branches with my excitement over Trace Ford, but Tyler Lacy is also just scratching the surface of his potential. The exciting part is that this pair of sophomores already have a year of built chemistry. Here’s to a long partnership of terrorizing Big 12 QBs.

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