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What OSU’s 2023 Defensive Line Lacks in Experience, It Makes Up for in Size

The Cowboys have some big boys along their defensive front.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — When the Cowboys’ defensive line steps off the bus in 2023, large shadows will be cast.

Like the rest of the roster, Oklahoma State’s defensive line will feature a lot of new faces this fall, but those faces will be a ways from the ground. I went back and gathered a who’s who along OSU’s recent defensive lines, and would you take a look at this:

Vincent Taylor6-3310
Emmanuel Ogbah6-4275
Jordan Brailford6-3250
Brock Martin6-3245
Trace Ford6-3240
Justin Kirkland6-4346
Anthony Goodlow6-5283
Kody Walterscheid6-6281
Nathan Latu6-4265
DeSean Brown6-3254

So, those are some of the better defensive linemen OSU has had in recent seasons compared (size-wise) to five of the guys I projected on OSU’s two-deep. (The only guy not mentioned among that group who was on my two-deep was 6-3, 310-pound Collin Clay).

The average height and weight of that first group of OSU all-stars is 6-3, 264 pounds. The average height and weight of those five I pulled from this season’s roster is 6-4, 286 pounds. Tyler Lacy would fit in almost perfectly with this group at 6-4, 285 pounds on last season’s roster, but he is off to the Jaguars.

Justin Kirkland has dominated a lot of the size headlines, which he should, but from one side of the line to the other, those guys are just big. Kody Walterscheid said that size should help in Bryan Nardo’s new 3-3-5 scheme.

“With only having three D-linemen, you’re going to catch more double teams,” Walterscheid said. “Size helps with that for sure.”

The young pup on that group is DeSeason Brown. Nathan Latu was quick to mention Brown as a youngster who has impressed him this offseason. Brown was a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, picking OSU over offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, TCU, Baylor and others. Brown redshirted in his freshman season, playing in two games.

“DeSean Brown, he’s getting his reps in,” Latu said. “Just from last year to this year, there’s been a huge difference. … I didn’t know him until he got here, right, and his motor has been the same since. He’s an animal on the field. Technique-wise, he’s getting it down, he’s learning to be coachable, really problems I had when I was growing up.”

With all that being said, it’s important to not compare this group too much with the titans of OSU’s past. Although the group does have a ton of size, it doesn’t have a ton of experience. That group of five has three starts at OSU (all Walterscheid last season).

But the group does have aspirations. Emmanuel Ogbah had 13 sacks as a junior to go with 17.5 tackles for loss. Latu told PFB on Saturday he has personal goals written on a board of 12-plus sacks and 20-plus tackles for loss. He said those personal goals go behind team goals, but something tells me a guy putting up those types of numbers will go a long way in helping accomplish OSU’s team goals.

“[The defensive line’s size] is going to more than help,” Latu said. “I’m definitely confident in everyone by my side — even the twos and threes. Our depth is crazy. I believe this year is the year.”

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