College basketball is heading down the home stretch, college baseball has started, but let’s not forget (I know many of you aren’t) that spring practice is already getting underway across the country. We will handle spring previews for every Big 12 football team and roll them out based on when their respective spring practices begin. Next up is the Oklahoma State Cowboys who will start up spring practice on Monday, March 11th.
Most Exciting Returnee: RB Chuba Hubbard
Maybe many of you wanted Tylan Wallace here, which I understand, but when I think of who excites me more, I think of Hubbard, because of how he closed the season in place of Justice Hill, who was fourth in the Big 12 averaging 93 rushing yards per game, and is now off to the NFL. Over the final four games of last season, Hubbard averaged 20 carries per game and 106 yards per game with four touchdowns. He also had 13 catches for over 100 yards during that stretch, which makes him more of a dual-threat in the backfield than Hill was. Hubbard is coming back to a Big 12 where three of the top four rushers are gone and the fourth, Pooka Williams, has his status in doubt stemming from an offseason domestic battery charge.
Most Exciting Newcomer: QB Spencer Sanders
Frankly, many of us thought he would be a difference maker last season. It didn’t happen, much to the chagrin of many Cowboys fans. So now, with Taylor Cornelius gone to graduation, Sanders is still an unknown commodity after being the 8th-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country in the Class of 2018. He was the Texas 2017-18 Gatorade State Player of the Year and also named Mr. Texas Football by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine, finishing with a 46-6 career record. He will be in a battle with Hawaii transfer Dru Brown, but Sanders is expected to have the upper hand.
Offensive Storyline to Watch
There are moves on the personnel side and on the coaching side. Josh Henson left the program for a position at Texas A&M, and Mike Gundy picked up former Kansas State coach Charlie Dickey to take the same job he held in Manhattan, which produced a solid group of current and future NFL offensive linemen, including Dalton Risner.
On the field, it’s been a position that Oklahoma State fans have feared in recent years. Over the last two recruiting cycles, Oklahoma State has added nine big, athletic bodies along the line. The line last year is back with Dylan Galloway, Marcus Keyes, Johnny Wilson and Tevin Jenkins are back, while other names should be in the mix like Hunter Woodard, Hunter Anthony, Bryce Bray and Jacob Farrell.
Defensive Storyline to Watch
Some key defenders like Jordan Brailford and Kenneth Edison-McGruder are gone, while both defensive tackles Trey Carter and Darrion Daniels are leaving to graduation and transfer. Stopping the run has to be a bigger focus for this program after finishing last in the Big 12 Conference in that category last season. There are a ton of players competing for time along the interior part of the defensive line in Stillwater. Key an eye on names like Cameron Murray, Brendon Evers, Samuela Tuihalamaka, Sione Asi, Israel Antwine, Amadou Fofana and others. The last three listed are transfers who could make an immediate imapct. Asi was a three-star prospect and the No. 8 defensive tackle in the country at the JUCO level coming out of Snow College. Antwine transferred from Colorado after coming out of high school in Oklahoma as a three-star prospect. Last season he went on to start 11 of 12 games as a true freshman and played in all 12. He finished the season with 15 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. As for Fofana, he was an all-conference player at Highland CC in Kansas, racking up 43 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and four sacks.
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