Spring Review: Receivers, Tight Ends/Fullback

You've heard the phrase, the more the merrier. Well nothing could describe Oklahoma State's situation at receiver any better. I'm having to get used to using the word "receivers." I've always used the combination of wide receivers but Oklahoma State's offense, while spread, no huddle and up tempo, is using a lot of different types of receivers.

From wide receivers with Marcell Ateman, C.J. Curry and Austin Hays to inside or slot receivers like Blake Webb, David Glidden, Tyreek Hill and Kameron Doolittle. Then you also have the tight end/fullback receiver that is manned by guys like Jeremy Seaton, Blake Jarwin, Teddy Johnson and newcomer Jordan Frazier.

By now, you are probably wondering why I didn't list Jhajuan Seales or Brandon Sheperd in any of those groups, and they most likely fit as wide receivers. But both can line up outside or inside and create match-up problems.

The Cowboys receiver corps is plentiful, deep, young, and talented. The only senior listed above is Doolittle, who is a walk-on from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M after being an All-State player at Edmond Memorial. He made enough of an impact in spring football to get listed with the names above.

Now the long list of players involved should not be a problem as the Cowboys offense is best when a lot of players are playing and catching the football. It is an offense built for as many as eight or nine receivers to have lots of success. When that happens defenses are stretched too thin and they can't cover all the weapons.

The obvious development this spring was looking at the young receiver group in the recruiting class of 2011. That class included Seales, Sheperd, Curry, Hays and Webb.

You can look at each one of them and see how they have physically matured. Seales talks of the work done in the weight room with coach Rob Glass and his staff. You can see it visually. Coaches Kasey Dunn and Jason Ray will tell you how they have also matured as players becoming more mature about all aspects of being receivers and student-athletes. That is obvious on the practice field with less mistakes and more plays being made.

It's also interesting that Seales and Curry redshirted their first season, and Hays and Webb redshirted last season due to injuries. Sheperd is the lone junior by football classification as he has not redshirted.

That group is the foundation of the receiving corps. Their talents vary, but they all have a role and they fit together.

Working in with the group are older statesmen Doolittle, who has also really progressed as a blocker, and David Glidden, who will be a fourth-year junior this season. Both play at the inside or slot position.

The newest addition is Tyreek Hill. You likely read about Hill as a running back but he is quite capable of catching the football and using the slot to find himself some space to get the ball and maximize his speed. Defenses are going to have fun looking for him.

The younger contributors are Ateman, who has been challenged by head coach Mike Gundy to push himself even more. The 6-4, 210-pound Ateman has lots of God-given talent and ability and just scratched the surface last season playing in every game.

Ra'Shaad Samples was hampered with an injury this spring but he has great speed and ball skills. When he is cut loose he could be a huge contributor.

The jumbo crew is also a factor as no opponent can dismiss Jeremy Seaton, a former quarterback with good hands and athletic ability. Seaton has the right attitude and is as happy punching a defender out of the way for a runner or receiver.

Teammates call Blake Jarwin a beast and he is anxious to prove himself in the role. Teddy Johnson is a known commodity as a football player and freshman Jordan Frazier did well enough in spring to grab some playing time on the two deep.

You'll notice there was no real criticism of the receivers. It's not that they don't make mistakes, they do. There were a few drops, a few wrong routes, or missed blocks in the spring. The bonus and the motivation to keep those acts to a minimum is just exactly what is implied by the review above.

There are so many of them that when one makes a mistake there is always one ready to jump in and get it right. That may be what someone meant when they said there is strength in numbers.

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