The Oklahoma State Cowboys will return a ton of talent in 2013, but that does not make predicting their 2013 depth chart any easier.
If next season is anything like the one we just finished, the depth chart will look a whole lot different by the time the Cowboys are playing in their next bowl game. Hopefully, the team can avoid the injury bug a bit better in the coming year.
For each position, starters and backups are listed along with a short explanation of the choices. Some slides contain multiple positions to avoid repetitiveness (offensive line, many defensive positions, etc.).
So let’s start with what is probably the hardest position to predict, especially based on 2012.
1. Clint Chelf, Sr.
2. J.W. Walsh, So.
As you can read here, my belief is that Chelf should remain the starter in 2013, with Walsh as his backup and temporary replacement in certain situations. Lunt should redshirt next season.
Chelf has been incredibly consistent, and another year at starter should make him even better. Walsh should take the No. 2 spot as the Wildcat quarterback and a very capable backup.
1. Jeremy Smith, Sr.
2. Desmond Roland, Jr.
Losing Joseph Randle to the NFL is a huge loss for the Cowboys, but it is reassuring to know that the team has two backs waiting in the wings to take over.
There are concerns with both though. Smith has to prove he can stay healthy while getting starter’s minutes, especially after having injury problems in the last two seasons as a backup. Roland has never gotten that many touches, so we really do not know what to expect from him. The small amount of touches he has gotten have looked good though.
Kye Staley, Sr.
There is no point to putting anyone else on this depth chart. No one else will play this position but Staley, who is earning another year as a senior thanks to an NCAA medial redshirt. While Staley does not rack up the stats and never runs the ball, he has become a major threat out of the backfield in the passing game, catching 12 passes for 166 yards and two scores last season.
1. Charlie Moore, Sr.
2. Tracy Moore, Sr.
1. Austin Hays, So.
2. Brandon Shepherd, So.
The Cowboys are young at this position suddenly, but they do have two seniors who will help out.
Charlie Moore has proven himself this season, and I think he will be rewarded for it as the team’s biggest deep threat in 2013. Tracy Moore fell off the map this season, due mostly to injury, but I just do not see him winning a starting spot back.
Austin Hays earned his starting position as a freshman, and I believe he will keep it in 2013 after 29 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns in 2012. Who will back him up his a mystery, but do not count out fellow sophomore Brandon Shepherd.
1. Josh Stewart, Jr.
2. David Glidden, So.
1. Blake Jackson, Sr.
2. Blake Webb, Fr.
I think the starting spots at these positions are pretty locked up. That is definitely true for Stewart, who became one of the best slot receivers in the country in just his second season on campus.
David Glidden has been listed as his backup for awhile now, and I doubt that will change. Stewart will likely be on the field so much that knowing who his backup is probably is not important.
Jackson had some issues with drops in 2012, but if he can get that corrected, he could be earning himself NFL money for 2014. His size and speed are matched by very few players, and he has the potential to be a receiver-tight end hybrid not unlike Rob Gronkowski.
Blake Webb came in and played significant minutes in 2012. He will get some chances and this is likely the best spot for that to happen.
OT- 1. Parker Graham, Sr.
2. Devin Davis, So.
OT- 1. Daniel Koenig, Jr.
2. Chris Grisbhy, Jr.
OG- 1. Brandon Webb, Sr.
2. Paul Lewis, So.
OG- 1. Eli Dickerson, Jr.
2. Hunter Higgins, So.
C- 1. Jake Jenkins, Jr.
2. Travis Cross, So.
The Cowboys should have no trouble reloading the offensive line as they do every season. Losing guards Jonathan Rush and Lane Taylor and center Evan Epstein is rough, but Joe Wickline always has good linemen waiting in the wings.
I’m fairly confident I have most of the starters right here, but who can know for sure? Some players could be moved around or switch positions, but you can bet on one thing for sure: this line will be just as good as the Cowboys’ offensive lines have been consistently over the last five seasons.
1. Tyler Johnson, Sr.
2. Jimmy Bean, Jr.
1. Trace Clark, So.
2. Taylor May, So.
I have to be completely honest: Other than Tyler Johnson, these are complete guesses.
I have no idea who will start and back up at this position, especially after the team loses three seniors. They could move over some defensive tackles to these spots, as they have done in the past. I avoided predicting that, just because I have no way of knowing if that will happen.
1. James Castleman, Jr.
2. Anthony Rogers, Sr.
1. Calvin Barnett, Sr.
2. Davidell Collins, Sr.
The Cowboys do not graduate anyone at this position, so they should be pretty set going into 2013.
Calvin Barnett and James Castleman became difference makers as the 2012 season progressed. Each has a knack for disrupting the offense in the middle, and if they can get more support from the outside, they could really do some damage.
1. Caleb Lavey, Sr.
2. Ryan Simmons, So.
1. Shaun Lewis, Sr.
2. Lyndell Johnson, So.
1. DeMarcus Sherod, So.
2. Joe Mitchell, Sr.
Senior Alex Elkins is the only loss this position group suffers heading into 2013. Replacing him will be tough, and even though I have Sherod doing it on this depth chart, do not count out Simmons or Johnson as possible replacements as well.
This is a very talented group, and it has been the most consistent over the past few seasons for the Cowboys defense. The 2012 season was a mixed one for them, but they should be better in 2013.
1. Justin Gilbert, Sr.
2. Ashton Lampkin, So.
1. Kevin Peterson, So.
2. Miketavius Jones, So.
It surprised a lot of people that Justin Gilbert decided to return for his senior season. It was the right decision, but many were under the impression that he and Joseph Randle would do the opposite of what each did. Still, having him back is a boost for the cornerback position, which is getting younger.
Kevin Peterson actually won a few starts over Gilbert in 2012 and played significant time in other games, so it seems likely he will replace Brodrick Brown as the other corner. Ashton Lampkin and Miketavius Jones round out the cornerback position.
1. Shamiel Gary, Sr.
2. Zack Craig, Sr.
1. Daytawion Lowe, Sr.
2. Larry Stephens, Sr.
The Cowboys will not lose anyone at the safety position in 2013, but some may question if that is really a good thing. The group was inconsistent this past season, and the loss of Markelle Martin was obviously a problem.
Still, Lowe is very talented, and Gary showed major promise at various points in the season. Zack Craig also displayed a knack for making big plays. Expect this group to improve.
Kicker- Bobby Stonebraker, Jr.
Punter- Michael Reichenstein, Jr.
Losing Quinn Sharp may be the most significant loss the Cowboys will suffer heading into 2013.
I have little to go on in this case other than the players who have been listed as Sharp's backups. Each of them is unproven, but the Cowboys have never had a problem finding the next good kicker and punter for their team.