Ready To Jump Off Roster: Sione Palelei

This is part three as we count down from 10 to 1 the players that we think will jump off the roster this summer and fall to become major contributors for the first time in their Oklahoma State playing careers.

Now we are pulling these candidates from the brand new just reported freshmen and junior college players, the ones that reported in January, the redshirt freshmen and sophomores that played some last season, and even some third-year players that are either sophomores or juniors. The only criteria is that they have yet to regularly hold down a position in the two-deep depth chart.

We started with number 10, and that was freshman wide receiver James Washington, who has come in this summer and impressed the strength staff and his teammates with his work ethic and athleticism.

Number 9 was Darius Curry, who impressed as a redshirt last season and gives the defensive staff a luxury of having a big, physical corner who can help against big and physical receivers. He is a good cover corner at his size.

When OSU was able to convince Louisiana prep standout running back Sione Palelei to make an official visit to Stillwater after he had previously been committed to LSU it was a huge plus for the Pokes. Palelei tore his ACL in the fifth game of his senior season and finished with 752 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on only 58 carries for East Ascension High School.

With good size at 5-10 and close to 200 pounds, he is a two cut back that makes his moves and then turns upfield. He has shown he can really read blocks and can catch the football as well.

I watched Palelei on video quite a bit through his recruitment, especially after Oklahoma State got in on him. The thought of the Oklahoma State staff was that because his injury came at the midway point of the season and he had great orthopedic care and rehab that he would be ready to contribute as soon as his freshman season.

The Cowboys have backs like Desmond Roland and Rennie Childs that have proven to be really good and capable of filling that role in the offense. Tyreek Hill has come in and proven he can be an explosive addition to that back situation as a guy that mixes it up and plays there and at slot receiver.

Other backs could still emerge such as Caleb Muncrief and others. However, with freshman Devon Thomas now out of the mix because of his off-the-field mistakes there is an opening that depending on how Palelei continues into fall camp and how others work and show up could widen and put Palelei on the field.

So far, Palelei has worked really well and shown up in the player workouts. He also has a strong football IQ and that will help him in learning and acclimating to the offense. If he does not factor and does not play that is not a problem. A redshirt season will make him physically even more removed from the senior season injury and more hungry for his time on the field.

I truly believe he will jump off the roster and be a big contributor. For me that is not in question, so it is not if only when that happens.


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