By Dan Kelley on July 5, 2014
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have a lot to replace going into 2014. They should have enough talent left over to avoid a massive drop-off, but they will really need a few guys to step up if they want to compete for a Big 12 title. Here are five players who could make or break the season, depending on how they develop.
At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds Blake Webb won’t draw any comparisons to Dez Bryant, but he could be an enormous asset to Oklahoma State’s passing game this season. Webb is also a track star and his speed should provide the Cowboys with a tremendous down-the-field threat. He missed the majority of 2013 with an injury but saw the field quite a bit as a true freshman in 2012. That season he made 14 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Simmons earned a starting job at outside linebacker as a sophomore last season and recorded 67 tackles, including nine for a loss. Simmons is the only returning starter at linebacker and he will likely move inside and take the reins for the Cowboys’ defense this season.
Ashton Lampkin was a backup last season but he has played in every game since he arrived at Oklahoma State two years ago. Lampkin recorded 24 tackles and one pass breakup last year, and earned recognition as the Special Teams’ Most Valuable Player. He will be counted on to lead a young group of cornerbacks in 2014.
As a sophomore last season, Jimmy Bean showed that he had the tools to be among the best defensive ends in the Big 12. Oklahoma State will need him to do just that this season. He recorded 34 tackles last year, including 9.5 for a loss, and really came on strong towards the end of the season. In the Cowboys’ loss to the Missouri Tigers in the Cotton Bowl, Bean turned in his best game of the season, with seven tackles.
The receiver with the best chance of turning in a season reminiscent of Bryant or Justin Blackmon is probably Jhajuan Seales. Seales put together an exceptional freshman season last year, with 591 yards and three touchdowns on 31 receptions. This year he returns as the clear No. 1 receiver and should easily top the 1,000 receiving yards mark.
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