It’s inevitable when you have a pair of studs like Weeds and Blackmon last year that players, great players, are going to get lost in the fold.
Here are five guys I think the national media, and maybe even OSU fans, are underrating.
1. Jeremy Smith – Here’s the career yards per carry list for Oklahoma State.
1. Barry Sanders – 6.8
2. Jeremy Smith – 6.6
Nobody else has ever averaged over 6.0 yards per carry1. Granted, he doesn’t have the carries to prove his longevity, but if you’re looking at initial production predicting the future…look no further than #31.
2. Desmond Roland – He’s backing up the Barry and Thurman of his generation. We’ve covered Smith above but if Randle has two more years like he did last year, he’ll go down as the most decorated OSU RB of all time.
Roland could be Randle 2.0 for all we know. With Sims out of his way this season, we’re going to see more of the former three-star athlete from Dallas. And you’re going to be impressed.
3. Shaun Lewis - Known by many fans more for his ability to single-handedly melt down message boards (Shawn, Sean, Shean, etc.2) than his ability to play football.
He’s not going to lead the planet in tackles but he does so many things so well, it’s easy for him to get lost in the fray. Example: the only two players last year with 60+ tackles, 2+ INT, and 1+ fumble recoveries were Lewis and Brodrick Brown. Brown is all over the preseason watch lists, Lewis is nowhere to be seen.
4. Daytawion Lowe - Quick, name the only two OSU players with more than 80 tackles last season. Not Brodrick Brown, not Jamie Blatnick, not Caleb Lavey or Markelle Martin.
The answer would be Lowe (97) and Alex Elkins (90). It’s a good thing Lowe got 13 games worth of starters experience last season too because he’s the ringleader of a set of safeties that has a combined 0 starts.
5. Ryan Simmons – Likely a guy you haven’t seen play since he had three total tackles in his freshman season last year before getting hurt. The reason he’s on this list is because of how many times you’ve heard OSU’s coaches talk about how deep and loaded they are at LB.
The obvious starters are Lewis, Lavey, and Elkins, but of the backups Simmons is the only one who stands alone as a #2 reserve. He’s going to play a ton this year and he’s going to be effective. And you’re probably going to find yourself saying, “wait, who is THIS guy?3”