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Which Cowboys Will Be the Hardest to Replace on Offense?



Oklahoma State lost a lot of talent and a lot of production when the clock hit 0:00 on last year’s Camping World Bowl. It was an abrupt ending to several heralded careers, including a couple of all-time Cowboys.

So as we look toward the future and fall camp (which is right around the corner), let’s take a look at the three hardest Cowboys to replace from Oklahoma State’s offense.

3. Brad Lundblade

brad lundblade

Brad Lundblade had to earn it the hard way. He was thrown into the fire as a true freshman without a scholarship. He took his lumps early for sure but he grew with and led the offensive line for four years.

How hard will he be to replace? You can look no further than OSU’s trip to Austin last year when a Cowboy offense that at times had looked unstoppable could not move the ball against a good, not great Texas defense.

Without his four-year starting center, Mason Rudolph was sacked three times, went scoreless by air and on the ground — for the only time last year — and had his worst passer rating since the rain game in Norman in 2016.

And the Cowboys’ running game looked just as rough, struggling to gain 2.9 yards per carry while Justice Hill was held to just 3.6 per carry, his lowest average in 2017 aside from 11 hand-offs against South Alabama.

Lunblade was out for the Baylor game but those Bears finished ninth in scoring defense and rushing defense in the league so dropping 59 on their back wasn’t exactly OSU’s highest moment in 2017.

Replacement Candidates

Johnny Wilson was pushed into starter’s reps at right guard when Larry Williams went down, just before sliding over to spell Lundblade for those two games last year. With Williams healthy and eligible and with an entire offseason to prepare, Wilson looks slated as C1. Also on the depth chart is incoming freshman Tyrese Williams.

2. James Washington

I was going to come up with this well-written (humor me) lead-in paragraph explaining why I left off OSU’s second Biletnikoff winner. I was going to highlight how much talent the Cowboys fielded and still do at wideout. I was going to try not to be predictable. Then I took my second sip of coffee at 5:30 and woke up. 

Yes, Oklahoma State had a ton of talent in the receivers room last year, and yes, they return a bunch, but James Washingtons don’t just grow on trees, even when you have Kasey Dunn shaking all the trees in Texas.

His numbers speak for themselves, but I think his unassuming nature, his unimposing stature and his Barry-esque TD celebrations led us to take him for granted a bit. He just made big catch after big play after score, and he did so while being Priority 1 on every defensive coordinator’s white board.

There are plenty of talented wide receivers in Stillwater and many more will come through in the future, but I’m not sure we ever see another one that can stretch the field and take the top off of a defense like Washington.

Replacement Candidates

There are several, but the sexiest name on the list is Tyron Johnson who mostly played backup to Washington at the Z spot and shined while relieving him during Bedlam. Johnson has the talent to shine and should now get the reps with the significant WR turnover this offseason. He should be one of the favorite targets for whomever is slinging the rock in Stillwater this fall.

Don’t count out Dillon Stoner, Jalen McCleskey and a slew of talented youngsters like Tylan Wallace, LC Greenwood and Patrick McKaufman who have been biding their time.

1. Mason Rudolph

mason rudolph

This one should come as no surprise either. Rudolph played the most important position on the field and he was mostly elite at it over a three-plus year stretch. A few times he was averuge and once or twice he was disappointing. But much like Holder told us that he didn’t want to see what the transition from Mike Gundy looked like, Mike Gundy probably wasn’t too fired up to see this transition take place.

It begs the question in hindsight. If you are Gundy, do you trade one Bedlam win and a Cactus Bowl for one more year of eligibility with your franchise QB, sans Baker’s fu manchu?

Spencer Sanders might be the next big thing to come through Stillwater, or Taylor Cornelius might be the next Clint Chelf. Or they might not. But when you’re replacing your all-time leader in wins, passing, TDs, etc., you’re going to feel it.

Replacement Candidates

Spencer Sanders already unpacked all of his Texas high school football trophies in Stillwater earlier this month and is ready to earn a spot on the cover of next year’s media guide. Taylor Cornelius and incoming grad transfer Dru Brown are short-timers but offer more experience than Sanders and should at least have their say in the QB competition.

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