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.
Reviewing the players featured. Number 10 is 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 nine is Darius Curry, who impressed as a redshirt last season and gives the defensive staff a luxury of having a big, physical corner that can help against big and physical receivers. He is a good cover corner at his size.
Number eight is Sione Palelei, who has done a marvelous job of rehab on his knee injury of last fall during his senior season. He brings speed and power in a great combination to the running back position and has the ability to also be a home-run hitter at the position.
Number seven is Vili Leveni, who redshirted last season. He really used the season well in working on his frame and putting on good weight to get to 6-3 and 275 pounds. He is versatile enough to play end or line up inside in the right situations.
Number six is Emmanuel Ogbah, the second defensive end to make the list. Ogbah has a little more experience than Leveni, and he is big, strong and explosive and a real threat to the overall welfare of opposing quarterbacks.
Number five is one of three young safety prospects in Tre Flowers. The coaches redshirted him last season and then in the spring really liked the way his length and frame played into the defense and his role at safety. He is young and inexperienced and there is no way to overcome that other than be out there and get the reps.
Number four is the second young safety in sophomore Deric Robertson, a smart disciplined player that will need to play above his experience level.
Number three Jordan Sterns. The 6-1, 205-pound Sterns is a hard-working, physical player who got a taste of it last season along with Robertson of playing a little bit on defense and on special teams.
This is a young man that celebrated on the night he made his verbal commitment to Oklahoma State by going to the weight room for an extra lifting session. Another huge part to the make up of Sterns is that he comes from perennial state championship contender Cibolo Steele and played on a state champion. That is always a plus when a high school player comes from a strong winning environment. His high school coach is now the defensive backs coach at Texas Tech.
Last season he played in every game except the season opener with Mississippi State. He made his debut on defense in the fourth quarter against UTSA and got a very competitive indoctrination from Eric Souza, the Roadrunners quarterback. He had four tackles in that game. Sterns finished with 13 tackles, nine of those unassisted.
He is athletic and possesses solid cover skills but he is best at making hits and coming up aggressive on the run game. There is an outside chance that if talent develops at safety and he gets much bigger that he could be a candidate for the "star" linebacker. For now he is a safety and one thing is guaranteed and we saw it during the spring, his inexperience will lead to some mistakes but they will be mistakes made at top speed. He does not know how to play any slower than full speed.
As with Flowers and Robertson, Sterns needs all the reps he can get in fall camp in August.