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Xavier Benson, Alex Hale Declare for NFL Draft

Benson and Hale were out of eligibility after the 2023 season.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys will have a lot of returning firepower in 2024, but not everyone can come back.

Xavier Benson and Alex Hale finished out their eligibility in Oklahoma State’s 10-4 2023 season, but both announced they will pursue football further by declaring for the NFL Draft.

The heart and soul of OSU’s defense, Benson started all 27 games the Cowboys have played in the past two seasons, recording 141 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery with the Cowboys.

Out of Texarkana, Texas, Benson started his college career at Texas Tech, redshirting in 2018 before making 10 starts as a redshirt freshman in 2019. In that season, Benson recorded 57 total tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack. He opted out of the 2020 season before attending Tyler Junior College. He led the NJCAA in total tackles in 2021 with 120. He also had two interceptions, eight tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and 0.5 sacks.

He transferred to Oklahoma State ahead of the 2022 season, picking the Pokes over offers from Indiana, Memphis and Kansas.

Benson came up big in his final college game, forcing a late fumble in OSU’s Texas Bowl win against Texas A&M as the Aggies were driving late.

Hale has one of the most interesting stories in college football. A kicker from Point Frederick, Australia, Hale was the Junior Wakeskate World Champion before his football career. Hale redshirted in 2018 before handling a few kickoffs in 2019.

He was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2020, going 13-for-14 on field-goal attempts that season before suffering a freak injury in Bedlam pregame that kept him out for the rest of the year. Tanner Brown then took over the Cowboys’ kicking duties and he retained the job when Hale got healthy, as across the 2021 and 2022 seasons Hale attempted only six field-goal attempts. But Hale made an emphatic return to action in 2023, going 27-for-34 on field goals. He finishes his OSU career with 197 points scored.

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