The Oklahoma State Cowboys are almost done with their September, although a heavily anticipated matchup with the Texas Longhorns on the 29th still awaits. We will have more on that matchup later, but for now, let’s look at the Cowboys' top performers for the first month of the season.
While there have been a few dark spots on this team so far, it has looked pretty good for the most part. The Arizona game was one of the worst performances in recent memory, but the team responded well the next week against Louisiana. Neither of those teams can hold a candle to Texas, but they are both solid non-conference competition.
There are five Cowboys players who have shown themselves to be performing above and beyond the rest. I have picked at least one player from each phase of the game, and each of these players deserves inclusion on this list.
Alex Elkins missed the Cowboys’ most recent game against Louisiana due to an undisclosed injury, but he will be back for Oklahoma State’s game against Texas on Saturday. That is very good news for the Cowboys and their fans.
While the rest of the defense looked sluggish and ill-prepared against Arizona, Elkins accounted for 15 total tackles, flying around the field. He leads the team in tackles right now, despite missing a game.
Elkins also is the senior leader of a very experienced and talented linebacker group. He will be key throughout the rest of the season, just as he has been in September.
Considering the lack of experience he has at this level and the quarterback he is having to follow, Wes Lunt has done a tremendous job of playing starting quarterback for the Cowboys.
A knee injury could keep him out of the upcoming Texas game, but that does not diminish just how good he has been so soon.
The true freshman has thrown for 588 yards and four touchdowns while competing 68 percent of his passes. Keep in mind he has accumulated those stats in really only about a game-and-a-half of playing time. He has been very good, and he has Cowboys fans salivating over just how good he could be down the line.
Punters and kickers never get enough love, and Quinn Sharp fills both of those roles for the Cowboys. He has been a special teams star for three years now, and he looks better than ever in his senior year so far.
The senior from Mansfield, Texas, has made 25-of-25 extra-point attempts and 80 percent of his field goal tries. He also is averaging 63.29 yards per kickoff, and 87.5 percent of those kickoffs have been touchbacks.
Sharp is a great punter, too; however, you will not see him on this list since he does not get to punt enough thanks to the great Cowboys offense. Sharp has averaged 46 yards per punt on just six punts so far.
You may not have heard Blake Jackon's name before, but you will be hearing it before long.
The 6'3" JUCO transfer already has shown himself to be one of the most talented players on the Cowboys offense this season.
Along with Josh Stewart, Jackson is starting at the inside receiver position for the Cowboys. In three games, Jackson has caught 12 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown. He is leading a very balanced group of Cowboys wide receivers and has distinguished himself as a matchup nightmare with his very unique combination of size and speed.
The biggest star on this Cowboy team is Joseph Randle. That was true before the season started, and it is still true now.
After his breakout season last year, the question heading into 2012 was whether or not Randle could continue to build on that.
So far, he has answered the call.
Through three games of action, the junior out of Wichita, Ks., has rushed for 335 yards and four scores, averaging 6.7 yards per carry. He is the motor of this offense and team, along with back-up running back Jeremy Smith.
Randle is the clear choice for the best running back in the Big 12, and that will not change.