Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
This offseason has been a good one for Cowboy football in most respects. The NFL Draft, a high-profile quarterback battle and solid recruiting were the high points of that offseason.
The Cowboys had two outgoing players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Star wide receiver Justin Blackmon was taken at No. 5 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and 28-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden was taken at No. 22 overall by the Cleveland Browns. While Blackmon is another entry in a long line of drafted Cowboy wide receivers, Weeden will likely become the first quarterback in Oklahoma State history to start his first NFL game.
A heavily-covered quarterback battle was also a huge story for the Cowboy program this offseason. Redshirt junior Clint Chelf, redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh and true freshman Wes Lunt all battled it out for the starting job vacated by the NFL-bound Weeden. Lunt was eventually named the starting quarterback, and he has kept that position since the spring with Walsh as the backup.
Recruiting has also been good for the Cowboys, as they will have a number of new players playing significant minutes this season. Besides Lunt at quarterback, true freshman C.J. Curry and junior college transfer Blake Jackson will get significant minutes at the wide receiver positions. Another junior college transfer Calvin Barnett will start at defensive tackle, and cornerback will also feature a few young players in backup positions, with true freshmen Kevin Peterson and Jonovan Griffin each playing in the season opener according to Mike Gundy in his press conference last week.
Not everything that happened in the offseason was good for the Cowboys, though. Special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach Joe DeForest left to become the defensive coordinator for new Big 12 opponent West Virginia. This is a big loss for the Cowboys, who have been elite in special teams for the decade that DeForest was there. Former University of Tulsa assistant coach Van Malone replaced DeForest as the defensive backs coach, and the special teams’ duties are now split between assistant coaches.
Third-string running back Herschel Sims was also an offseason departure. He was dismissed from the program after stealing money from a teammate’s bank account. Sims has since transferred to Lamar University. Desmond Roland will fill his role as the third-string back and, while it will not affect the Cowboys much this season, and it could be a big deal in a few years.