Oklahoma State Football: Analyzing the Impact of Devon Thomas' Arrest

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IMay 31, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Earlier this week, the news came out that, on May 28, Oklahoma State running back Devon Thomas was arrested in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, after being accused with five different felonies related to an armed heist.

If you want to get into the gritty details of the case, check the linked news article above; however, this article will stray away from what the young man allegedly did and focus on the potential impact this event could have on the Oklahoma State football team.

Thomas was a talented, young back who was one of Oklahoma State's four early enrollees this spring. Given that extra practice time and his combination of size and power, he might have had a chance to take over goal-line and short-yardage duties in the fall.

Obviously, that's unlikely to happen now, but the Cowboys aren't exactly hurting for running backs.

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Desmond Roland #26 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys celebrates after scoring on a two-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Missouri Tigers during the AT&T Cotton Bowl on January 3, 2014 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronal
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Desmond Roland is back after a solid junior campaign that saw him rush for 811 yards and 13 touchdowns. With Jeremy Smith graduating, it would stand to reason that Roland's number should go up, as he'll be in line to start for the Pokes from Day 1.

Barring injury, I would expect Roland to fairly easily top 1,000 yards rushing. Additionally, he has the size to be serviceable in short yardage; that said, Thomas' skill as a short-yardage specialist would have given Roland a few much-needed rests throughout the course of the game.

Unfortunately, without Thomas there really isn't a guy on the roster who plays like Thomas or Jeremy Smith before him.

Behind Roland is Tyreek Hill, who just might be the fastest player in the nation this season. Hill certainly doesn't have the same size as Thomas, but given his playmaking ability, most assumed he'd get more touches than Thomas anyway.

After that, the Pokes have Rennie Childs, who showed a lot of heart in 2013. Childs has all the talent and many of his teammates have called him the "running back of the future." However, he plays more like a feature back than the short-yardage specialist we're looking for.

The best option might just be Jeremy Seaton. Seaton is a mountain of a man at 6'2" and 250 pounds, making him a perfect option to take over for Kye Staley at the fullback position.

Further, Seaton played tight end in high school, meaning he possesses good hands, something that makes him very versatile on the goal line.

Matt Strasen/Associated Press

If anybody is going to become the Pokes feature back on the goal line, it has to be Seaton. He's bigger than Jeremy Smith and has better hands. Don't be surprised to see Seaton amass double-digit touchdowns this season.

With 2014 seemingly taken care of by players already on the team, now it's time to look ahead and see if Thomas' arrest could have an impact on the Pokes in 2015 and beyond.

Obviously, Childs has already been mentioned as a guy many people have faith in, but the question of what impact this arrest could have is probably best answered in two words.

Ronald Jones.

ESPN ranks Jones as a 4-star running back, and he could easily add that fifth star with another big season in 2014. ESPN also calls him the third-best running back in the nation. 247Sports isn't far behind, naming him the fifth-best back in the country.

Jones isn't as powerful as Thomas, but that doesn't really matter when you run for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns in your junior year of high school. And he's playing Texas high school football, so you have to respect him. I mean, those are Adrian Peterson numbers.

Now, I'm not saying Jones is going to be as good as one of the greatest running backs to ever play football; however, I think it's fair to say that, if the Pokes can keep him committed, he's going to make people quickly forget about the loss of Thomas.