Ready To Jump Off The Roster: Zach Crabtree

This is part nine 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.

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 is Jordan Sterns, yet another young safety prospect who will need to respond to the challenge of playing a lot of snaps against top-flight competition without a lot of experience. He got some last season and he is a strong attitude and effort guy and that should pay dividends.

Number two is Zach Crabtree, a 6-7, 300-pound offensive lineman from Mansfield, Texas.

Crabtree was thrust into a starting role in the spring after the losses to injury last season of Devin Davis (preseason ACL) and Brandon Garrett (compound leg fracture in the Cotton Bowl).

Crabtree skipped over an older player or two to man the right tackle position. He improved every single day and had a positive role model in left tackle and senior Daniel Koenig, who has gone from a quiet instigator of practice extracurricular skirmishes to a more vocal dominant player between the snap and the whistle.

Crabtree arrived in Stillwater looking like you want an offensive lineman to look, with maybe a few pounds added being the only change a coach might make. After Davis was hurt last August he was looked at as a possibility to play as a freshman, but the red shirt was kept on him.

He is big and strong, has the long arms desired for the tackle position, and even has a little bit of a mean streak that Koenig can easily help him extend some more. He is athletic and he can move his feet to keep up with a smaller, quicker defensive end. His technique improves with every practice and it wasn't bad to begin with.

The biggest attribute you love is that Crabtree's care factor is very high. He wants to do well and he wants to protect his quarterback and spring the running backs. If Garrett is back and ready to go then he becomes a solid third tackle. If Garrett can't go initially then Crabtree is the only option at right tackle.

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