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Who's Next In Line At Defensive Tackle?

Darrion Daniels (pictured above) and D.Q. Osborne will be given the chance to step into the vacant defensive tackle spots this spring.

You don't replace a Vincent Taylor, those kind of defensive tackles at the college level. Much less the kind that are even capable of thinking about going early to the NFL don't grow on trees and don't develop, even automatically with five stars next to their name in recruiting. 

Oklahoma State now loses both starting defensive tackles as Motekiai Maile is a senior. 

Okay, who is next? You start with the current backups as Darrion Daniels has been developing and playing quite nicely. It is really a time for him to step up.

D.Q. Osborne is a really talented player who had trouble with his assignments but made spectacular plays and can be a great hand. He doesn't have the size as far as height but he has the needed girth and is extremely quick. I mean he is really quick for a big guy.

Vili Leveni, who played some at tackle and some at end before getting hurt this season, is a potentially really dynamic playmaker inside. He will be counted on and it is hoped that he can stay healthy. I know he is determined and you know he will work as hard as it takes as he has proven himself before in rehabilitating from serious injury.

Taaj Bakari has advanced some and the hope is he will be ready to contribute. The kid has talent, but is green. I don't think redshirting freshman Cameron Murray will be ready to handle much of the workload, but you find out in spring.

X-factors at defensive tackle are transfer Enoch Smith, who attended but did not play at Butler County C.C. after leaving Michigan State and was a high three-star recruit out of Chicago, Ill. The Cowboys also have Bixby HS commitment Brendon Evers and Snow Junior College's Fua Leilua as commitments in recruiting.

Evers is solid and is a dominant player at the high school level, but will need development. He is not likely a guy that steps in and helps. Leilua is a guy that could, but he is still a soft pledge as he is taking visits to Arizona State and Utah State in addition to Oklahoma State.

Smith played very little at Michigan State and they did not seem to be too upset he departed, so we'll have to see what he has got and if he takes advantage of a second chance. The curious thing is he could have played at Butler and did not. He is still a two-year guy coming in.

Now, Oklahoma State can quit worrying about recruiting extra quarterbacks and think about finding transfer and talented defensive tackle prospects because the need is there. There are still a few prizes out there in junior college and that is where you are more apt to get immediate help. Isaiah Johnson (6-31/2, 310 at NEO A&M) is visiting Texas and Syracuse in January, but has a visit date open.  

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