There is no denying the effect wide receiver Justin Blackmon had on the Oklahoma State football program. No other Cowboys receiver has had the kind of impact he did, and it will be hard to replace him.
Blackmon is one of just two players to ever win multiple Biletnikoff awards (the other being Michael Crabtree), and he caught 232 passes for 3,304 yards and 38 touchdowns in just two seasons as the No. 1 Cowboys receiver.
Now, he’s gone on to the NFL and the Cowboys are looking for the wideout that could replace him. It won’t be an easy role to fill. Blackmon not only produced; he also made the game much easier on his teammates by taking much of the opposing defense’s attention.
Here are the five players who have a shot at filling his shoes in 2012.
Tracy Moore is the best returning receiver from last year for the Cowboys. The senior caught 45 passes for 672 yards and four touchdowns. It’s clear that Moore, as the most experienced receiver of the bunch, will be a big part of the offense.
Whether Moore can be this year’s Blackmon, however, is a tough question to answer. A former tight end, Moore does have a bit more size than Blackmon, measuring 6’1” tall and around 233 pounds. He lacks the speed Blackmon possessed and isn’t as good with his hands.
Right now, Moore is the best candidate for the job though. His experience and knowledge of the offense are the best in this group, giving him a few major advantages.
A young player who showed his ability in spurts last season, Isaiah Anderson is another candidate to become 2012’s version of Blackmon. After spending a few seasons behind Blackmon and Michael Harrison, Anderson will get his chance this season to start as an outside receiver.
He displayed some pretty good deep ball skills last season, but his size is troublesome. He’s only about 5’10”, which might not be big enough to compete for balls with the corners he could face. Still though, he is talented, and it wouldn’t be a shock if he earned All-Big 12 honors.
Replacing Josh Cooper from last season will be Josh Stewart, a quick wideout who will take over as the lead inside receiver this year. However, Stewart could end up replacing Blackmon production-wise, especially if he becomes an underneath safety valve for young freshman quarterback Wes Lunt.
Stewart is one thing above all else: fast. His speed is his best weapon and yards after catch will be big for him. He probably won’t get there in 2012, but he could be a flat-out star in the following years.
Torrance Carr is a wild card coming into this season. The Dallas, Texas native spent his first college season on the bench after coming into camp with an injury last season.
A redshirt freshman in 2012, Carr has a chance to be a solid contributor or more. He measures in at around 6’2” or so and is a big athletic target that knows how to play the game. He was listed as an inside receiver before the spring workouts started, and he could thrive there if given the opportunity.
A 6’2” sophomore receiver out of Bullard, Texas, Charlie Moore wasn’t really on the radar until people saw just what he was capable of in OSU’s spring game a few months ago.
Moore, who has just six catches in his two-year career at OSU, caught nine passes for 243 yards and three scores in that spring game. He signed with OSU as an athlete a few years ago after starring as a dual-threat quarterback in Bullard.
Whether he’s the real deal remains to be seen, and it isn’t unreasonable to be skeptical considering his career production so far. However, just remember this: A few years ago, there was another young no-name wideout who was impressing people during spring workouts and scrimmages. That was Justin Blackmon, and we all know where he is now.