For the Oklahoma State Cowboys to make a run at the Big 12 title in 2014, they will have to continue their tendency to put together high-powered offensive attacks. The catalyst for these high-octane offenses has been phenomenal receiver play. From Justin Blackmon to Dez Bryant, the Pokes have a strong recent tradition of receiver play. Can Jhajuan Seales become the next great Cowboy pass-catcher as the leader of a deep wide receiving corps in 2014?
As a freshman in 2013, Seales finished No. 3 on the team in receiving with 39 receptions for 571 yards and three touchdowns. With the team losing both Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore this offseason, there’s room at the top of the depth chart for Seales to step into as the favorite target for quarterback J.W Walsh. Seales’ playmaking ability with the ball in his hands will make him a dangerous weapon at the head of the Cowboys’ attack in 2014.
But he will be far from along in the receiving corps. Marcell Ateman caught 22 passes as a true freshman last season and is the odds-on favorite to take over the other starting receiver spot opposite Seales. Brandon Sheperd and David Glidden got important reps as part of the rotation last season as redshirt freshmen, racking up 223 yards and 15 catches respectively, and will see an expanded role in 2014.
Joining them will be some playmakers coming off injuries. Blake Webb and Austin Hays made an impact as true freshmen in 2012 but were sidelined with injuries for almost the entire 2013 season. Webb, who also runs track, reeled in a pair of downfield bombs during the spring game and should be a home-run threat in the passing attack this fall. Hays has the versatility to play on the outside or in the slot, creating matchup issues when the Pokes go to spread sets.
On top of all that talent, Oklahoma State will also be breaking in some new faces as well. Tyreek Hill was the No. 4 juco prospect in the country during the 2014 recruiting cycle and made a serious impression during spring practices with his speed. While he’s listed as a running back, Oklahoma State plans to move him around this fall, including lining him up in the slot from time to time.
Ra’Shaad Samples, yet another speedster, could work his way into the rotation as well. After signing as the highest rated recruit in Oklahoma State’s 2013 recruiting class, Samples redshirted during his first season in Stillwater to get stronger. The coaching staff is sure to find spots for the talented redshirt freshman this fall to make an impact.
Add in sophomore C.J. Curry and Oklahoma State has a nine-man receiver rotation that doesn’t have a single senior in 2014. The depth and talent of the receiving corps for the Cowboys is arguably one of the best in the entire country and could spark the Pokes to a huge season offensively this fall. With Seales leading the way, how high can Oklahoma State rise in 2014?