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The Floor and Ceiling For Potential Freshmen Contributors in 2018



Mike Gundy said last week he’d like to have a plan in place for the freshmen he anticipates playing at some point during the 2018 season.

That day has passed — as has fall camp, believe it or not — and while he’s not yet (and likely won’t) name those freshmen explicitly, we have a general idea of who will see the field as rookies based off first- and second-hand practice reports.

So let’s break each of those candidates down by predicting their floor and ceiling as freshmen contributors in 2018.

Tanner McCalister | Cornerback

Floor: McCalister stood out among a young cornerback unit this fall. The floor for his potential in 2018 is the fifth man in a deep rotation.

Ceiling: McCalister got a little dinged up in camp, but if he’s at full strength, the ceiling for him to reach this season is the third corner in an impressive rotation behind two returning starters in A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams.

Jarrick Bernard | Safety

Floor: The safety position will feature a fresh batch of new faces, and Bernard, a freshman, has made the case to be included among the bunch after a strong camp. His floor in 2018 — if he doesn’t redshirt — would be a special teams only player a la Malcolm Rodriguez circa 2017-18.

Ceiling: As I stated before, Bernard has been an admirable freshman standout. He could play rotation minutes as a center-fielder of sorts in Jim Knowles’ 4-2-5 scheme, because they will be rolling in defensive backs like hockey lineups in this new scheme. He could be the third or fourth man at one of the safety positions and play a major role if he reaches his ceiling this season.

Kanion Williams | Safety

Floor: Like Bernard, Williams has the benefit of joining a program in desperate need of early contributors at safety. If he doesn’t redshirt, his floor in 2018 will be as a special-teamer who plays mop-up time in the defensive backfield. Missouri State game All-Star, perhaps.

Ceiling: What in the world could OSU do with a safety who stands at 6-2, 180-pounds, you ask? Turns out, quite a bit. Dallas’ own Kanion Williams is essentially the same size and build of one Tre Flowers, who had a productive career at OSU if you remember correctly. Williams is another freshman safety who could see rotation time like Bernard.

JayVeon Cardwell | Cornerback

Floor: Like his fellow freshman corner, Tanner McCalister, JayVeon Cardwell has earned rave reviews in camp. He should be able to lighten the load put on starters A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams in 2018, and at worst, will split time with McCalister and Texas A&M transfer Kemah Siverand.

Ceiling: At best … Cardwell earns the third spot in the rotation. Word out of camp is that incumbent starters Williams and Green are banged up from camp, but if/when they get to full health, they’re the guys. Cardwell could be the first off the bench at the position to play big minutes behind either Green or Williams.

Spencer Sanders | Quarterback

Floor: Mike Gundy announced this week that Spencer Sanders is QB3 on the depth chart .. giving the indication that a redshirt year could be a real possibility this season.

Ceiling: …. but fortunately, the redshirt rule was put in place for players just like Spencer Sanders. He could play four games without burning his redshirt in 2018, so I think there’s a realistic scenario in which he takes snaps early in the season to get his feet wet. And maybe more, if Cornelius and Brown don’t knock Gundy’s socks off.

Sean Michael Flanagan | Safety

Floor: You’re noticing a trend here, right? There’s a reason OSU brought in so many safeties in its last recruiting class. Flanagan has a shot to see rotation minutes after enrolling early and having a solid summer.

Ceiling: I’m pretty all-in on Flanagan’s long-term potential at OSU, so sue me for thinking his ceiling as a freshman might be as a No. 3 man on the depth chart from Game 1. He has bodacious ball skills after playing both sides of the ball in high school, and he’s a guy who always finds himself in the right spot in practice.

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