ESPN and the Big 12 bloggers did something interesting on Friday as Brandon Chatmon researched the Big 12 going back to the year that TCU and West Virginia entered the conference (2012) and checked on all freshmen and how many played in their first season on campus and what percentage of them redshirted that first fall.
The research showed that TCU, Texas, and Oklahoma played the greatest percentage of freshmen, and it was no surprise that Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor had the greatest percentage of freshmen that redshirted.
Oklahoma State and head coach Mike Gundy were in the middle with close to 36 percent of the freshmen playing that first season. Gundy really only likes to use freshmen in critical positions that have depth or talent issues. He also likes to throw a freshman running back in there early in camp and see how well they can swim in the deep end.
That said, the fourth of July signifies that the newcomers are approaching the halfway mark to the summer and for all but the early enrollees of the spring, the midway mark to fall camp. Here is my projection of where the freshmen, scholarship and several key preferred walk-ons, and newcomers will be heading into the season (listed in alphabetical order).
Tyrell Alexander, WR, Fr, 6-1, 183, Lancaster, Texas
Alexander came in shape, tested well, and has shown up well in workouts and metabolics. Wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn can't wait to coach him in August and said he expects him to play.
La'Darren Brown, RB, Fr, 5-9, 180, DeSoto, Texas
Brown had put on some weight as he was skinny in high school. He still needs to pack on weight and get stronger. He tested well and is likely to get an early opportunity to swim with the first offense against the first defense. I expect he will redshirt and it will benefit him.
Tyler Brown, OL, Fr, 6-5, 300, Lexington, Okla.
Brown has looked okay but like with most offensive linemen there is lots of work to be done and development in order to play at this level. He should redshirt.
Calvin Bundage, Star LB, Fr, 6-2, 195, Edmond (Santa Fe), Okla.
There is a lot of talent at the star linebacker position and Bundage can use the time in the weight room and the development. Redshirt.
Dylan Galloway, OL, Fr, 6-5, 290, Coppell, Texas
Another offensive linemen that should redshirt, but he has shown up well in workouts and in the weight room. Expect Galloway to be an early offensive line candidate who develops more rapidly.
A.J. Green, CB, Fr, 6-1, 170, DeSoto, Texas
He has come in and tested well and is in good shape. Likely not needed, but has the athletic ability if injuries come up. Redshirt season would help him in the long run.
Devin Harper, LB, Fr, 6-1, 215, Knoxville (Karns), Tenn.
He is really good looking and shows a strong maturity. If the need arises and he is willing, Harper could play a lot of special teams. He likely redshirts, but looks like he came ready to play.
Madre Harper, CB, Fr, 6-1, 180, Arlington (Lamar), Texas
The advantage is he was in Stillwater in the spring for offseason and spring ball. He got a lot out of it and is bigger and stronger. He could redshirt but right now will get to compete for a spot on the depth chart.
Justice Hill, RB, Fr, 5-10, 185, Tulsa (Booker T. Washington), Okla.
He came ready and came with some weight on his bones. He tested and ran well and is explosive. My number one candidate for a freshman running back that shows he can swim with the first team. Let's see what happens in camp.
Teven Jenkins, OL, Fr, 6-6, 300, Topeka, Kansas
He will need a redshirt season to mature and prepare to compete at this level.
Malik Kearse, CB, Jr, 6-0, 175, Miami (Monsignor Pace), Fla./Fort Scott C.C, Kansas
He has put on weight and was on campus for the spring. He has good instincts and will get to compete in camp. I like what I've seen this summer.
Matt Kegel, OL, Fr, 6-5, 300, Chaska, Minn.
I'm not saying he plays because I think all the freshmen linemen will redshirt, but Kegel came in with the kind of spirit and enthusiasm that you want. He is also pretty strong and tough. He gets through workouts with a high spirit while others wear down.
Cameron Murray, DT, Fr, 6-2, 280, Bryant, Ark.
Likely would not have played anyway but with the addition of D.Q. Osborne from Baylor's list Murray gets a redshirt and plenty of opportunity to work hard and get better physically and learn.
Amen Ogbongbemiga, LB, Fr, 6-0, 210, Calgary (Notre Dame), Alberta, Canada
Because of the late ending of his school year he reports this next week. There is enough depth at linebacker that he would have to come in and really lay the wood in order to avoid a redshirt. He is talented and will be talented for the future.
D.Q. Osborne, DT, Jr, 5-11, 320, Grand Prairie (SGP), Texas/Missouri/Kilgore J.C., Texas
With the ample supply of defensive tackles, in most any other situation he would sit. He doesn't have a redshirt year but it doesn't matter as he was the Defensive Player of the Year in J.C. at Kilgore and he is a difference maker that will create havoc for opposing offenses.
Shane Richards, OL, So, 6-8, 335, Calgary, Alberta, Canada/New Mexico Military Academy
The month away from school didn't help as the big man came in out of shape and turned it around quick. He works hard and has a good degree of mental toughness. He's gone from being thought of a sure reserve to increasing some curiosity or how well he can compete for playing time. I predict he plays.
Dillon Stoner, WR, Fr, 6-0, 182, Jenks, Okla.
He is still my prediction of the newby that will be on the field first. Wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn has said he will play quickly, but I think he beats Dunn's command to get in there by being on special teams as he was a special teams hero in high school and could play on any and all units. He gets the value and importance of playing on those units.
Tralund Webber, DE, Jr, 6-5, 245, Cameron (Yoe), Texas/Blinn J.C., Texas
He comes in with the expectation of playing right away in the two-deep at defensive end. He tested well and has some explosion to him. He needs to work on quickness and first step. He will play.
Larry Williams, OL, Jr, 6-4, 318, Wilmington (Laney), N.C./East Carolina Univ./Hutchinson C.C., Kansas
Williams is a huge key as he was on campus in the spring and provided a competitive spark in the offensive line. Look for that to continue and for him to play in either finding a starting position or being the sixth-man on the offensive line.
Rodarius Williams, CB, Fr, 6-0, 172, Shreveport (Calvary Baptist), La.
He won't be needed this season but he is a good looking athlete and his future will be bright as a bigger cornerback. He likely redshirts.
Keondre Wudtee, QB, Fr, 6-4, 196, Bossier City (Parkway), La.
He has looked good and came in and tested well. I like his look in metabolics and I think he will embrace competing for a second or third spot on the depth chart. I'm thinking he plays some to get a little experience unless Gundy and Yurcich simply want to preserve that year.
Nyc Burns, QB, Fr, 6-5, 177, Tulsa (Berryhill), Okla.
He had perfect attendance in the spring showing up in Stillwater at every practice and it paid off as he learned a lot of offense by the end. He looks comfortable in metabolics and needs to get bigger, but make no mistake this is a guy that is a legitimate threat to play at some point somewhere (at QB) either at OSU or as a transfer into a program needing a QB.
Jake Dyer, LB, Fr, 6-0, 200, Whitesboro, Texas
He came in and immediately grabbed the attention of the strength and conditioning staff as a player that out tested some of the scholarship guys. He has a maturity and an eagerness to get after it. I look at him as a potential special teams contributor right away. Dyer is a football player who came to play.
Cade Smart, LB/DE, Fr, 6-4, 230, Pleasanton, Texas
Eager to play and looks the part but needed a heart procedure to correct a problem discovered in his physical. He is eager to get back and will be back soon. You have to love the desire here and there is talent to go with it.
Zach Smart, LB/DB, Fr, 6-4, 200, Pleasanton, Texas
Twin brother of Cade, and he is just like his brother. Both could end up being contributors but likely start out with the redshirt season.
Ja'Ron Wilson, RB, Fr, 5-10, 187, Euless (Trinity), Texas
He was a surprise on signing day and he came in both in good shape and has been impressive. I think he is another young running back that head coach Mike Gundy will test. He is a scholarship-caliber player that OSU is fortunate to have.