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Oklahoma State Football

Way Too Early All-American Team Has No Pokes, Should It?

January 19, 2021

STILLWATER – Classes started at Oklahoma State today and players, both new and old, were stopping to check in at the West End Zone. Rob Glass will give the Cowboys a few days this week to get adjusted and then soon it will be time for the offseason program to ramp up. That is how far away we are from the next college football season, but the media operates on a different calendar. This may be offseason and spring football, even at the earliest of programs, is still a month away from starting. However, the name Alabama had not even been engraved on the CFP trophy before ESPN had a “Way Too Early Top 25” out and others followed. I saw the Cowboys made a couple and were first out on another. It doesn’t matter but it is good discussion as is ESPN’s Way Too Early All America Team. No Cowboys on that, but should there be? We gave it a good examination.

I didn’t contest every position. No reason too. Oklahoma State is talented enough that they could always have somebody emerge at a position, especially receiver. However, going into next season there are no clear All-American candidates at receiver.

Offensive line is subjective, unless somebody really does the work and watches tape. I think that Josh Sills could clearly be a candidate for next season and the transfer Danny Godlevske could also push his way into a conversation depending on how each of them play and how the offense performs overall and how much improvement the offensive line shows for next season. It should be a significant amount with the experience the younger linemen received this past season.

Let’s stay on offense and start at quarterback. I understand that Spencer Sanders performance has fluctuated and Sanders development has been a closely watched process for Oklahoma State fans. A breakthrough may have been late in the season with sensational performances in both the win at Baylor and the MVP performance in the Cheez-It Bowl win over Miami, Fla. Sanders was 27-of-40 passing for 305-yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 45-yards on 13 carries.

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Howell was good against A&M in the Orange Bowl.

ESPN has North Carolina sophomore Sam Howell, a really talented player, as their way too early All-American quarterback. Howell was sensational all season and helped North Carolina get into the Orange Bowl, but despite his spectacular play they could not upset Texas A&M. Let’s check out the 2020 stat lines.

Name, Ht., Wt., School Att. Comp. Pct. Yards TD Int. Rush Car. Yds. TD
Sam Howell, 6-1, 225, UNC 348 237 68.1 3,585 30 7 92 146 5
Spencer Sanders, 6-1, 205, Oklahoma State 247 155 62.8 2007 14 8 101 269 2

Sanders isn’t off the grid, but he will need to improve significantly to compete for All-American honors. I think he is capable, but Oklahoma State has players with better cases to be made to bump somebody off the ESPN list.

ESPN has Iowa State’s Breece Hall at running back and that is a slam dunk. However, Chuba Hubbard was looking to repeat in a similar fashion after the 2019 season and it was easier thought of than done. ESPN also has Texas running back Bijan Robinson on the team. I like LD Brown or Dezmon Jackson or Dominic Richardson. I’ll take the Cowboy that busts out and earns the most carries in the offense for next season.

Name, Ht., Wt., School Car. Net Yards YPC TD Rec. Rec. Yds. YPR TD
Bijan Robinson, 6-0, 223, Texas 86 703 8.2 4 15 196 13.1 2
LD Brown, 5-9, 205, Oklahoma State 82 437 5.3 2 6 64 10.7 0
Dezmon Jackson, 5-11, 218, Oklahoma State 100 547 5.5 4 5 14 2.8 0
Dominic Richardson, 6-0, 205, Oklahoma State 44 223 5.1 3 1 12 12.0 0
Austin American Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK
Robinson had his best game by far in the Alamo Bowl.

Strength in numbers as Robinson had that huge break out game in the Valero Alamo Bowl win over Colorado.  Edge to ESPN and Robinson. You know that new Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian will look to make Robinson a star in his offense. You can bet that Kasey Dunn is going to do the same with the Cowboys backs and head coach Mike Gundy will be making sure the Cowboys run the football.

The Cowboys are strong at defensive end, but that position has so many more candidates across the country. Let’s check out defensive tackle where I have a funny feeling that Israel Antwine, a very underrated contributor to the Oklahoma State defense, might fit in at that position. He is a strong influence on defense if you watch video and see what he does.

Name, Ht., Wt., School UT AT TT TFL Sacks QBH FC FR PD
Jordan Davis, 6-6, 320, Georgia 7 9 16 1.0 1.0 4 0 0 0
Bryan Bresee, 6-5, 300, Clemson 13 10 23 6.5 4.0 4 1 0 2
Israel Antwine, 6-4, 305, Oklahoma State 9 11 20 5.0 0.5 2 1 0 0

Antwine has a chance. He is more than capable and I project he will improve and play better this next season. Keep an eye on Antwine because he is getting better every game in his career.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
It is so hard to ignore Rodriguez’ numbers.

Linebacker is not just a production position when it comes to All-American, but the people that vote on All-American want big , impressive looking linebackers and Malcolm Rodriruguez looks more like a safety. Devin Harper fits the bill on the beauty test and with more playing time figures to get the production numbers that could influence some votes. ESPN had Iowa State’s Mike Rose, Alabama freshman Will Anderson, and Utah’s Devin Lloyd on the way too early team.

Name, Ht., Wt., School UT AT TT TFL Sacks FC FR Int. PD
Will Anderson, 6-4, 235, Alabama 33 19 52 10.5 7.0 1 0 0 0
Devin Lloyd, 6-3, 232, Utah 33 15 48 10.0 2.0 1 0 0 0
Mike Rose, 6-4, 245, Iowa State 54 42 96 10.5 1.5 0 0 5 2
Malcolm Rodriguez, 5-11, 220, Oklahoma State 57 25 82 7.0 3.0 2 1 0 3
Devin Harper, 6-0, 240, Oklahoma State 24 13 37 5.5 2.0 0 0 1 1

It must be noted that Lloyd at Utah only played in five games and it must also be noted that Harper may have averaged playing a third of the snaps in each game for Oklahoma State. Rose is a slam dunk and the others are competitive. 

Safety is a strong suit for the Pokes and with Kolby Harvell-Peel coming back with Tre Sterling, this could be very special. ESPN picked Northwestern’s freshman Brandon Joseph for their “way too early” team and Notre Dame’s Kyle Hamilton. I will put Harvell-Peel and Sterling up against them.

Name, Ht., Wt., School UT AT TT TFL Sacks FC FR Int. PD
Brandon Joseph, 6-1, 192, Northwestern 28 24 52 1.0 0.0 0 0 6 2
Kyle Hamilton, 6-4, 219, Notre Dame 51 12 63 4.5 0.0 0 0 2 6
Tre Sterling, 5-11, 200, Oklahoma State 51 23 74 12.0 0.5 0 2 2 4
Kolby Harvell-Peel, 6-0, 210, Oklahoma State 31 13 44 3.0 1.0 0 0 2 4
Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Tre Sterling should have been an All-American this past season.

You can see why I was claiming after the season that Tre Sterling was screwed over by both the Big 12 and the All-American teams. Sterling was outstanding as an every down safety and a player that made the huge plays when needed to put games away. If you just did the “blind taste test” here then Sterling and Hamilton are your obvious picks. Joseph did play a shortened schedule and his six picks are impressive. Harvell-Peel missed time with his hamstring injury and his numbers are close. His numbers in the 2019 season look more like Sterling’s 2020 numbers.

Believe it or not, kicker may be the best opportunity for an Oklahoma State player to break through and Alex Hale would have been in contention this season had he not torn his ACL in warm-ups before Bedlam in Norman. ESPN has a good choice on their team with LSU sophomore kicker Cade York. He beat Florida late in the season with a 57-yard game winner at the end.

Name, Ht., Wt., School FG Pct. 20 & In 30 & In 40 & In 50 & In 60 & In PAT
Cade York, 6-1, 198, LSU 18-of-21 85.7 0-0 4-4 5-6 3-4 6-7 36-36
Alex Hale, 6-0, 204, Oklahoma State 13-of-14 92.9 1-1 4-4 5-6 3-3 0-0 10-10
Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Alex Hale will be back!

The distance kicks give York a clear edge here, but Hale had shown he had the leg to hit field goal attempts beyond 50. He just didn’t get any opportunity.  Hale should be back completely healthy next season and I believe he will have a chance to earn some honors. 

Numbers aren’t everything, but they can be quite enlightening when it comes to looking at “way too early” scenarios. 

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