The Oklahoma State Cowboys’ recent success on the field has translated into similar results recruiting as well. Their 2013 class is one of their best in recent years, but will any freshmen be good enough to crack the Cowboys’ starting lineup this fall?
One of the toughest things for an athlete to do is go directly from high school to Division-I football and make an immediate impact. A great majority of incoming players need an adjustment period to get used to the speed and skill it takes to compete at that level.
However, there are a few special freshmen who have a shot at starting for the Cowboys.
Naim Mustafaa is the freshman in this class with the best shot at starting for Oklahoma State in the fall. Unlike many other incoming freshmen, Mustafaa possesses enough positive traits to contribute immediately.
The most important attribute he brings to the table, though, is raw skill, characterized by his athleticism. He is a strong pass rusher who has great size at 6’4” 235 pounds. He also will benefit from the fact that he is on campus for the spring semester, giving him all of spring and summer to compete for the starting job.
With running back Joseph Randle leaving for the NFL and the Cowboys already a bit thin in the backfrield, Corion Webster has a chance to have immediate impact as an incoming freshman.
Webster already has a Division-I-ready body at 5’11” and 185 pounds. He also is an all-purpose back who can run and catch passes. That skill set will only help him get on the field in the Cowboys’ pass-happy offensive scheme.
The Cowboys are losing punter and kicker Quinn Sharp to the NFL in 2013, so they clearly needed to find a replacement for him. While they have guys on campus already who will be in the mix, it is impossible to count out Ben Grogan.
Grogan is the lone kicker recruited by the Cowboys in this class. He is also the No. 9 kicker in the country according to Rivals, which awarded him a 3-star ranking.
The Cowboys have started young kickers in the past, which is why players like Sharp and Dan Bailey were able to get so polished by the time they graduated. There is no reason to think Grogan will not be the next in a long line of prolific kickers.
The biggest longshot on this list might be Marcell Ateman, but he is on here for a reason. It is clear that Ateman has difference-maker potential, especially considering his 4.5-speed combined with his 6’5,” 200-pound frame.
However, he also fills a need that the Cowboys have not had filled in awhile. Ateman has the size and athletic ability to be an elite deep threat. 2012 NFL first-round pick Justin Blackmon is a tough act to follow, but Ateman could be the best deep threat Oklahoma State has had since Dez Bryant.
I’m cheating here a little bit, but the reason is because I really think this guy has a great chance to start. Sam Wren is a JUCO transfer, but he is still a new player that will be coming on campus for the first time.
He is on campus already, learning how to play for the Oklahoma State. He has good size (at 6’3”, 260) and has the benefit of playing experience at a college level, rather than coming straight from high school.
Wren is a cheat for me on this list, but he is also the surest bet.