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Spring Preview: OSU’s Defensive Line Returns a Lot of Talent and Depth

The DL cupboard is full for incoming DC Derek Mason.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

We’re just days away from Oklahoma State’s first spring football practice and Cowboy defensive coordinator Derek Mason’s first look at his new talent-rich defensive line in action.

Under Jim Knowles, the group was among the best in the nation, leading all FBS teams in sacks per game and ranking fifth in rushing defense. How quickly Mason can install and adjust his system to fit Oklahoma State’s roster will determine how close the Cowboys get to a return to the Big 12 Championship next year. But the good news for Mason is that he’s got plenty of talent returning up front.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our previous position previews: RB | QB | WR | TE CB | OL

Who is returning (DEs): Collin Oliver (sophomore), Brock Martin (redshirt senior), Trace Ford (redshirt junior), Tyler Lacy (redshirt senior), Kody Walterscheid (redshirt junior), Isreal Isuman-Hundley (redshirt junior), Tyron Irby (redshirt senior), Jake Schultz (redshirt junior), Ben Kopenski (redshirt senior), Nathan Latu (redshirt junior), Donnie Wingate (redshirt freshman), Justin Hines (redshirt freshman)

Who is returning (DTs): Brendon Evers (redshirt senior), Sione Asi (redshirt senior), Samuela Tuihalamaka (redshirt senior), Collin Clay (redshirt junior), Xavier Ross (redshirt junior), Aden Kelley (redshirt freshman), Marcus Duckworth (redshirt sophomore), Holden Martinson (redshirt freshman), Jed Wagner (redshirt freshman)

The Cowboys said goodbye to Israel Antwine, who’s decided to enter the NFL Draft, and Jayden Jernigan, who transferred to Missouri. But despite losing those two experienced interior linemen, OSU has a lot of talent returning in 2022.

Orange household names like Brock Martin, Tyler Lacy and Brendon Evers are back for a final run in Stillwater, as are a group of up-and-coming talents headlined by last year’s breakthrough star Collin Oliver. The Cowboys will also benefit from the return of former All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Trace Ford, who missed all of last year with injury.

So Mason has plenty of talent to work with up front. The challenge will be utilizing all of it in a way that allows for the most success in Year 1. It’s a good problem to have if you’re an incoming DC.

Who is entering the mix: Three-star Kansas EDGE Landon Dean (6-5, 240 pounds) signed as part of the 2022 class and enrolled early. The Cowboys also added Arkansas transfer DT Solomon Wright (5-10, 296), son of former OSU linebacker Kenyatta Wright. Both will be on campus this spring.

Signees slated to join the Cowboys by fall camp are three-star edge rusher Jaleel Johnson (6-4, 235 pounds) and former Snow College tackle Seleti Fevaleaki (6-2, 270).

Pre-spring depth chart prediction

DE1 — Collin Oliver
DE1 — Tyler Lacy
DE2 — Trace Ford
DE2 — Brock Martin

DT1 — Brendon Evers
DT1 — Sione Asi
DT2 — Samuela Tuihalamaka
DT2 — Collin Clay

These pre-spring predictions are just educated guesses at this point but, with OSU’s depth up front, might be a bit moot for the D-line. The Cowboys benefited from subbing out hockey-line changes in the trenches last year, and I’d expect them to do the same in 2022.

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