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Oklahoma State Football

Fall Camp Sensations or Guys That Simply Make You Think

August 16, 2022
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STILLWATER – The grind within the grind is over. Oklahoma State football went through their sixth practice in a row without a full day off on Tuesday morning. The two-and-a-half-hour practice in helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts included lots of work on the passing game and as a result, a lot of work on pass defense and pass rush. That defensive line featuring players like Brock Martin, Collin Oliver, Tyler Lacy, Nathan Latu, Brendon Evers, Sione Asi, and Collin Clay sure make it a challenge. The offensive line is doing well and Preston Wilson was a good move by offensive line coach Charlie Dickey. Dickey felt Wilson was the right player at center and he has been. Wednesday is a day off for the team, which means meals and two one-hour meetings only by NCAA rule.

The Cowboys will be back at practice on Thursday in full pads. In fact, they will go full pads Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as the finish to fall camp before classes commence at Oklahoma State on Monday. Sunday will be a day off for the squad with again, meetings and meals.

Okay, camp has just three practices left and here is our list of players, some already established and others emerging that will feel were sensational the past two weeks plus or that we feel could become sensational or at least become important this season. Some of these guys we’ve already written about or had head coach Mike Gundy or one of the coordinators or themselves comment on their play and status this fall camp. Others, a few, we are really pushing for the first time.

DON’T GO CRAZY. We are not predicting All-Big 12, All-American, or even permanent starting status for all these players. We are just noting that they have emerged and have given us something to think about heading toward the season opener on Sept. 1 with Central Michigan.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Derek Mason has a good grasp of this defense and the personnel.

We’ll start on defense because I really believe that anyone that feels like the defense will be a letdown after Jim Knowles left town and Malcolm Rodriguez and Devin Harper joined the ranks of NFL linebackers may be surprised. Knowles, Rodriguez, and Harper were and are sensational, but Derek Mason has this situation under control and the Cowboys will still be really good defensively. Mike Gundy in the video for this story was asked if the offense this season is in better shape to carry the defense. His answer was positive about the offense, but the most important part of that answer was this.

“I don’t foresee that happening. I don’t think that needs to happen,” Gundy said of the offense carrying the defense. “I think they’ll really play well together. And I said this when I met with you guys a few days ago. It’s a little unrealistic for us to expect them (defense) to start where they left off last year, because last year they were legitimately in the top five in the country, in my opinion. And when you lead the nation in sacks and have multiple games in conference play where you have over six or seven sacks, it’s pretty awesome. So, I think they’re going to play really well. I really do, defensively.”

I love the defense. Here are players that I think have turned heads defensively. Defensive end Nathan Latu, defensive end Trace Ford, defensive tackle Collin Clay, linebacker Xavier Benson, linebacker Nick Martin, cornerback Cam Smith, and safety Kendal Daniels.

Oklahoma State Athletics
Latu has had a good camp.

Latu is 6-4, 265-pounds and he looks the part. With Tyler Lacy moving around more on the defensive line, Latu is getting more of a chance to impress and he is.

“I've told him that. I see him doing things now that he wasn’t doing at this time last year,” Gundy said of Latu. “And so, we call it maturity and growth and I think he's finally moving in that direction."

All Oklahoma State fans know about Trace Ford but after back-to-back seasons lost to knee surgeries, it was time for a refresher course this August. His reps have been monitored but Ford is still Ford. This past week they have allowed him to do more and there have been a couple of practices where he was the best defensive player on the field. On this team that is saying a lot.

Collin Clay, I have to apologize to. I said his little brother might have more impact than he would. Clay is another player that has had to fight off injury and setbacks but give him credit. He is a survivor and his play has come to life. He is still third-team on the defensive line at tackle, but with rotation he will play and he is making himself felt.

Xavier Benson has a resume’ with his year starting at linebacker at Texas Tech and his defensive MVP season last year at Tyler Junior College. He is playing up to that resume’ and that will be critical at linebacker for this defense. A leader in production and in experience is needed there.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Nick Martin (45)  shown in the spring finale has improved a lot.

Nick Martin could be the next chapter at linebacker after Benson, but he could be playing alongside his boyhood idol. Martin grew up watching Benson star at Pleasant Grove High School where Martin was eventually a star defender.

“It is going to be hard to keep Nick Martin off the field,” linebackers coach Joe Bob Clements said to Pokes Report. Defensive coordinator Derek Mason agreed. Martin is athletic and learning his position rapidly.

I was surprised to see No. 3 Cam Smith playing second-team corner. The 6-2, 185-pound Smith is a red-shirt freshman that has surged to back Korie Black at corner. I love his size and the way he is playing. I asked the other starting corner Jabbar Muhammad, who Smith has been learning from the most.

“Both of us,” Muhammad said. “He is really a student of the game. He’s been picking mine and Korie’s brain and he is playing well.”

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Kendal Daniels is 6-4, 208-pounds, a big safety.

The other red-shirt freshman on my list is starting at the “bandit” safety and that is Kendal Daniels. The 6-4, 208-pound Daniels is like Mike Gundy said “His body is what the NFL dreams of for a safety.” Daniels will make mistakes, he is young. He will also turn in some monster plays with monster hits, and some resulting turnovers in the form of fumbles and interceptions.

“He’s been tough, he’s got some natural skills that we can’t coach, and he’s got a body,” Gundy said of Daniels. “We just need to get him out there and let him play. We have to be patient with him.”

Be patient but enjoy him because he is going to make some highlights.

On offense I would list Deondre Jackson at running back, Cowboy back Jake Schultz, wide receiver Langston Anderson, and center Preston Wilson.

Jackson is the transfer from Texas A&M and while he had adjustments to make this summer, he has had a strong camp and is making a bid to play a major role at the running back position. It is still too early, but the 5-11, 215-pound Jackson could be the most durable and in a Mike Gundy Oklahoma State offense there is value in that.

Schultz just moved to offense from defensive end in the spring and with an injury to Blaine Green, he has picked up reps and is making an impact. Schultz could end up being a valuable piece along with several others at the Cowboy back position.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Anderson with a spectacular catch last spring.

Knock on wood, cross your fingers, and any other good luck charm like your lucky socks because Langston Anderson is having a good camp just like he had a good spring. I can’t wait to see this talented receiver play. For all the fans that wish for more four-stars, here is one that because of injury hasn’t had a chance to make his impact yet. Kasey Dunn can’t wait either. Watching Anderson cut loose will be fun.

Finally, back to Preston Wilson. The talk was center would always be his best position and he has shown that in camp.

“I feel like I’ve had a good camp and being able to improve and mesh with these guys has been awesome,” Wilson told me last week. Just to figure out our group as a unit has helped me improve and figuring out the five (on the field), the schemes, and the pass protections has been a blessing. I have been helped by other people and I have helped other people. We’ve put in a lot of hard work.”

Discussion from...

Fall Camp Sensations or Guys That Simply Make You Think

1,827 Views | 20 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by rcfb
Orangeheart72
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Anyone know Green's situation with his wrist and rehab?
CowboyKip
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Glad to hear about Jackson. I hope he keeps coming on. We could use another durable and experienced RB to go with Dom.
Inquisitor
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Having a big back as an option is huge inside the 10 and late in the game.
rcfb
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So Jake Shultz is completely switching positions to cover for Blaine Green? Sounds like the injury is more serious than we thought? Any idea what's the timeline looks like? Will he be back for Baylor game? I have only one question for Preston Wilson. Can he able to take on Siaki Ika, one on one?
Orangeheart72
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CowboyKip said:

Glad to hear about Jackson. I hope he keeps coming on. We could use another durable and experienced RB to go with Dom.


I'd say it differently. It's critical for the Cowboys to have a strong, shifty, special starting running back who can carry the primary load step up sooner rather than later. Dom was around last year and got very little action with Jalen around. If he was competitive with Jalen, even 90% as good, I suspect he would have played more. I think (could be wrong) he was available for that last drive (when Jalen was hurt) and last play in the Big XII Championship and Jackson took that last carry. Jalen would almost certainly have scored on a sweep with 3 yards to go into the End Zone. So perhaps Dom was even considered 3rd string(?) at our biggest, crunch time play. I'm hoping he's great, but someone, Dom or somebody else, will need to step up and be truly special IF we're going to be very good offensively and take pressure off SS.
rcfb
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I am guessing Nixon or even Ollie will take over Dom as season progresses, with Dom doing the majority of carry. He will be someone like Rennie Childs. Serviceable, but no vision. We have to figure out the best RB by Baylor game. If we can't run against Baylor DL, it will be a long game.
gary121853
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Great to hear Collin Clay mentioned. To me, hearing him mentioned, bodes well for DL depth/rotation etc
OSUgary
Crazed_Stallion
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Out 6-10 weeks
CaliforniaCowboy
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Crazed_Stallion said:

Out 6-10 weeks
so it wasn't a hairline fracture?

hairline = 6-8, closer to 6 depending on where the fracture is
Crazed_Stallion
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maybe they are being optimistic. I dont see him coming back this season..
CaliforniaCowboy
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Crazed_Stallion said:

maybe they are being optimistic. I dont see him coming back this season..
who is "they", you keep throwing out these diagnosis and timelines that nobody else seem to be aware of.

they = thin air?

Crazed_Stallion
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They/Him; They being the coaches
NJAggie
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Schulz had switched positions before Blaine Green did. He's just showing up and BG's injury may mean some PT for him.
Joe Khatib
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CowboyKip said:

Glad to hear about Jackson. I hope he keeps coming on. We could use another durable and experienced RB to go with Dom.
The one thing about Jackson is he is the best blocking running back we probably have!!! That is huge is pass protection to keep a blitzing linebacker or safety from getting a clean shot at Sanders and trying to break him in two! Warren was so good at pass protection last year!
Inquisitor
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Very good to hear Joe. Thanks!
GumbyFromPokeyLand
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Contrary to previous posts, sounds like they won't know Greene's status for a few days.
CaliforniaCowboy
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GumbyFromPokeyLand said:

Contrary to previous posts, sounds like they won't know Greene's status for a few days.
that's what I was thinking when the other guy kept changing his tune every time he was pressed on it, and none of the other sites had any reports.

Thanks for the update.
Crazed_Stallion
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He is out for the year, originally thought to be 6-8 weeks. There MAY be a chance he could be back for OU and the bowl game. He could play in a couple of games at the end of the year and would preserve his redshirt..
CaliforniaCowboy
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Crazed_Stallion said:

He is out for the year, originally thought to be 6-8 weeks. There MAY be a chance he could be back for OU and the bowl game. He could play in a couple of games at the end of the year and would preserve his redshirt..
bullcrap.... want to bet a pizza on that?
rcfb
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Are you trying to reverse jinx it? If not, I'm going to be very sad.
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