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Three Questions for Oklahoma State’s Linebacker Room Entering the 2024 Season

Nick Martin is so cool.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

We’re nearing the end of our three offseason questions series for each of the Cowboys’ position groups.

Here’s a look into Oklahoma State’s linebacker room before we round it out with the defensive line.

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1. Can Nick Martin Get Any Cooler?

Nick Martin is incredibly cool.

For starters, he had 140 tackles last season. That’s the most of any Cowboy since 1984.

On top of that, he’s covered in tattoos. But the coolest thing about him is how dang tough he is. He suffered a wrist injury in the third game of OSU’s season, saying it hurt the worst when he’d grab and twist, fall on it wrong or take on a block — ya know, normal linebacker things. And he did all of that last season while giving quotes like this:

“It definitely comes down to who wants it more,” said Martin after OSU’s win against Cincinnati. “This is a violent game played with aggression based on war. Bo down, batten down the hatches and just take it to them.”

It has to be impossible for Martin to get any cooler than he was in 2023.

He was a relative unknown entering last season who excelled immensely in the middle of the Cowboys’ defense.

2. How Does Justin Wright Factor In?

Justin Wright was one of the transfers most talked about entering last season, but he played in just two games because of injury.

Well, he’s back in 2024 after receiving a medical redshirt. Wright spent four seasons at Tulsa. In his final two seasons with the Golden Hurricane, Wright wracked up 183 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and a trio of interceptions.

Despite having played just two games last season, Wright might have as much in-game experience as the rest of the room put together. With guys shifting around and Xavier Benson no longer holding down a spot, Wright will surely be a contributing piece to this defensive puzzle, but where exactly he fits remains to be seen.

3. Who Else Fills a Role?

There are snaps to be had at linebacker in 2024 with Benson exhausting his eligibility last season and Collin Oliver perhaps spending a bit more time on the edge of a four-man front.

So the guys on either side of Martin could be new contributors.

Wright is obviously one to keep an eye on, as is Oliver when the Cowboys are using a three-man front. Then there are the talks of Kendal Daniels spending more time closer to the line of scrimmage, so he is also in contention there. How much he plays linebacker vs. how much he plays safety remains to be seen, though.

Other names we’ve heard a lot over recent seasons include Jeff Roberson and Gabe Brown. Roberson missed 2022 with injury but came back to play in all 14 of the Cowboys’ games last season, making 10 tackles. Brown is only a redshirt sophomore, but he played in 11 games as a redshirt freshman last season.

Martin in the middle is an elite starting point, but with Oliver and Daniels flipping between positions, there should be room for a few other guys to make an impact in OSU’s linebacker room in 2024.

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