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Storyline Countdown No. 12: Which Cowboy Back Will Emerge for OSU?



PFB’s countdown to football season by counting down the 15 most intriguing storylines continues today with a look at the No. 12 storyline we’re tracking going into 2018.

Storyline rank: No. 12
Storyline: Who will emerge as the No. 1 option at Cowboy Back?

Why this matters: OSU hasn’t had a do-it-all tight end since Blake Jarwin, and has essentially recruited and developed two types: No.  1 — a block-first fullback-type, and No. 2 — a pass-catching first type. Determining who fits where and in what order will greatly impact the run and pass game for OSU.

How it could play out: The great news is that the top of the depth chart is flush with experience. With redshirt senior Britton Abbott and senior Sione Finefeuiaki in line to make an impact, OSU will not lack fullback types. It’s who emerges as a catch-first option that is still unknown.

Mike Gundy’s thoughts: Gundy hasn’t said much — if anything — about who will be the starter on Aug. 30. He spoke highly of quarterback-turned-tight end Jelani Woods at his media availability in Stillwater last month, but also noted he likely won’t be a major factor this year as he continues to make the transition.

My thoughts: The catch-first Cowboy Back is undetermined, but I’m giddy about the possibilities. Maybe I’m a sucker for a prospect with size, but 6-7 Jelani Woods, 6-6 Jake Ross, and 6-5 Baron Odom all have the talent to be impact players in the passing game this season.

As for the fullback style role, my expectation is that Britton Abbott is probably going to be atop the depth chart. Which is excellent news considering Finefeuiaki got plenty of run last season. The depth across the board is promising — and the future of the position is even brighter with four-star Grayson Boomer on board for 2019.

Previous countdowns

No. 15: How will OSU use all its running backs in 2018?

No. 14: How much will the corners have to play?

No. 13: Is Tyron Johnson an X-factor — or something more — this season?

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