Spring Preview: How Will OSU Replace its All-Time Leading Scorer?

As we put a bow on the our spring preview series, we turn to the ever-important but often under-valued specialists. The Cowboys lost a record-setting place kicker, return one of the nation’s top punters and are still looking for an answer in the return game.

Let’s dive in.

Kicker

Let’s start at that place kicker spot vacated by OSU’s all-time points scorer, Ben Grogan. As far as spring camp goes, the Cowboys only have two kickers listed on the roster. Strong-legged 2017 signee Jake McClure will join the Cowboys this fall after he finishes his senior year of high school.

But there’s already a kicker with a big leg on campus. Matt Ammendola was a redshirt freshman a year ago. “Philly” as his head coach calls him turned around OSU’s kickoff game as he took over that side of the kicking duties from Ben Grogan. The previous year, Grogan’s efforts gave the Cowboys touchbacks on just 24 percent of their kickoffs. Ammendola nearly doubled that number as the Cowboys touchback percentage climbed to 47 percent.

“(Matt) Amendola will kick,” said Gundy. “We’ll see how he develops. Right now, in practice and games, he’s been six-for-six from 55 yards and out, but he hasn’t been good from 35 and in.We’re going to work him quite a bit this spring.”

Ammendola did attempt on field goal last season, as well.

Max Allan, last year’s backup kickoff specialist is not on the spring roster. Kevin Mahon is a redshirt senior transfer from Tarrant County CC who is currently designated as a practice squad contributor but should get some burn in the spring game on April 15.

Punter

Zach Sinor is the clear starter as far as punting duties are concerned. He was the most effective punter in the country as a sophomore in 2016. He looks to build on his legacy in his redshirt junior season.

Matt Hockett will also get reps in the spring game. The redshirt junior is pegged for the practice squad but has spent time as a backup punter and has backed up in kickoffs over his time at OSU.

Long Snapper

In a group of unheralded positions, they are the probably the most forgotten. Basically, we don’t hear their names unless they screw up or make some incredible play (see Josh Elias in the Cactus Bowl). Last season, a couple of freshmen jockeyed back and forth for reps at long snapper. They will both get plenty of burn this spring.

Returners

After a string of extremely effective return men, OSU has hit a bit of a dry spell these last couple of years. Below is a look at the return scores since 2008. Notice the drop off after Tyreek Hill left. (One of those in 2015 was Miketavius Jones’ blocked punt/recovery.)

Does OSU have the next Josh Stewart or Justin Gilbert on their roster? The absolute embarrassment of riches we call Oklahoma State’s receiver corps could provide an answer. You can be sure that finding the answer is one of Gundy and Co.’s top priorities this spring.

osureturntds


  • Doc Holliday

    Thank goodness Grogan is finally gone..it’s absolutely laughable he’s the leading scorer when he can’t even hold a candle to Dan Bailey or Quinn Sharp..those guys just played on teams whose offenses scored TDs instead of settling for field goals..I think Ammendola will be special. Really excited about him

    • Adam M.

      I dunno, Ammendola seems like the John Daly of kickers right now if he’s struggling from 25, but 100% from +55. As long as he gets the short game figured out I’m definitely on board.

  • zombie willham

    Didn’t Grogan also lead all OSU kickers in misses from within 40 yards?

  • forever14

    Sinor for Heisman

  • Scott

    What! No mention of the Heisman watch?!? #Sinor4Heisman

  • Mark

    Long Snapper:

    “In a group of unheralded positions, they are the probably the most forgotten.”

    …. So was the irony intentional given the fact that this was the only group that didn’t have a single roster name mentioned in the article?