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Oklahoma State: 5 Newcomers To Watch

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STILLWATER -

Oklahoma State returns the majority of its key contributors from last season but here is a look at a handful of first-year Cowboys who could make a big difference.

 

1. DE - Sam Wren

Sam Wren arrived in Stillwater for the spring semester after transferring from Arizona Western Community College. And in just a few short months, he exited spring ball on the Cowboys' two-deep depth chart behind Tyler Johnson at defensive end.

At 6-foot-3 and 255-pounds, he isn't a mountain at the position but that didn't stop him from amassing 14.5 sacks last season, ranking second nationally at the junior college level. He is a force to be reckoned with because of his speed, reportedly a 4.59 40-yard dash, and also excels at batting down balls thanks to his 32-inch vertical leap. Wren will be a vital part of the Pokes' deep, athletic defensive end rotation.

 

2. K/P - Ben Grogan and Kip Smith

Replacing all-everything kicker/punter/kick-off specialist Quinn Sharp will be nearly impossible but the task must attempted. The kicking duties appear to be Ben Grogan's to lose after beating out Bobby Stonebraker and Kevin King during fall camp. Grogan was a highly-recruited prospect this past season and was universally regarded as the top kicker in the state of Texas as a senior at Arlington Martin in 2012. In his final season, Grogan was a perfect 40-for-40 on extra points attempts and connected on 9-of-11 field goals, highlighted by a 56-yarder.

The punting duties appear to be going to UCLA transfer Kip Smith. Smith earned the starting kicker duties at UCLA as a true freshman before suffering a season-ending injury after playing in just two games. He has yet to punt at the FBS level, but he was 2-for-2 on field goals and 7-for-8 on PATs. In high school, Smith was named a Parade All-American and earned first-team All-America honors from USA Today as a kicker and was regarded as the No. 1 kicker prospect in the country. In addition to punting duties for OSU, he is also the likely replacement for Sharp with kickoffs. He has a huge leg and 86-of-98 kickoffs in his final two years in high school resulted in touchbacks.

 

3. WRs - Marcell Ateman/Ra'Shaad Samples

It seems unlikely that a newcomer will be able to break through at the Cowboys' deepest position but, as it seems nearly every season, a freshman is able to make some ripples at wide receiver.

The Pokes are unquestionably set at this position but Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples have been making waves in camp. Ateman (6-4, 190) is a physical freak and has drawn comparisons to former Cowboy great Dez Bryant for his ability to go up and get the ball in traffic. That's pretty high praise for an 18-year-old rookie. He had a monster senior season at Wylie East High School in Dallas, catching 84 balls for 1,584 yards and 27 touchdowns and appears to be showing off that ability already in OSU's practices. He figures to be a major factor at the position at some point but he could carve out a role sooner than later.

Samples doesn't have nearly the size Ateman does, but he is on the short list for the title of the fastest Cowboy. Samples is pretty much a Josh Stewart clone at 5-foot-11, 170 pounds and was arguably the most heavily-recruited player in this year's class. He chose OSU over a slew of other big offers, including Notre Dame, Ohio State, OU, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. He reportedly clocked a 4.32 40-yard dash during summer workouts, which was the fastest ever by a freshman at OSU.

Even though this position is deep, experienced and talented, one of these two will likely find a way to break into the lineup at some point.

 

4. RBs - Corion Webster/Rennie Childs

The running back position isn't nearly as deep in Stillwater as it appeared it would be a little over a year ago. First, OSU didn't land Barry Sanders Jr. Then Herschel Sims was kicked off the team. And lastly, two-year starter Joseph Randle declared for the NFL Draft and is now suiting up for a different version of the Cowboys.

Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland will handle the majority of carries but it's not unlikely that either Corion Webster of Rennie Childs finds a way onto the field. Both were three-star prospects from Texas in 2012 and fit the Kendall Hunter, Dantrell Savage and Randle-mold that has been so successful under Mike Gundy.

Childs (5-10, 180) rushed for 1,945 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior at Houston Cyprus Ridge High School, while Webster (5-11, 185) ran for 1,786 yards as a senior at Atlanta (Texas) High School and was regarded as a Texas Top 50 player by ESPN.

 

5. CB - Tyler Patmon

The Pokes have talent at corner but not a lot of proven depth. As a result, KU transfer Tyler Patmon could see the field a lot in his one-and-only season in Stillwater. Patmon has good size for nickel and dime packages at 5-foot-10, 190-pounds and also brings intelligence and leadership to the position. He earned first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors twice and graduated from KU with a full year of eligibility remaining, hence his transfer to OSU.

Patmon started 32 games for the Jayhawks, totaling 142 tackles, 22 pass break ups and six interceptions. Last season he had 58 tackles and a team-best three interceptions. He should be able to carve out a sizable chunk of playing time behind Justin Gilbert and Kevin Peterson and bolstering a talented group of backups in youngsters Miketavious Jones and Ashton Lampkin.

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