The news was out on Signing Day that Oklahoma State Freshman All-American Justice Hill will miss spring football. Hill, who dealt with a shoulder injury throughout the season and an injury that was present before he arrived on the OSU campus, had offseason shoulder surgery and will be held out of spring ball. Hill rushed for just over 1,000 yards with his 100 yards and a 37-yard touchdown run on 19 carries in the 38-8 win over Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. He will be fine and ready for next season.
"Good as new," according to head coach Mike Gundy.
That will give junior Jeff Carr and red-shirt freshman L.D. Brown plenty of reps and opportunities in spring practice to show they can be the back to share reps with Hill. Both of those two have talent and Brown came very close last August to seeing some action during the season.
New signees in Canadian speedster Chuba Hubbard and Georgia standout J.D. King are more physically mature than some backs that have come in to the program lately, including as far as size, including Hill. For that reason they might be made ready to play, and as always with Gundy, young backs get a strong look in fall camp.
"Obviously, Chuba (Hubbard) has world-class speed," Gundy said. "There's been some conversation that in four years he could be running in the Olympics. Whether that's right or wrong, I always go back to something Coach (Pat) Jones used to say that 'when you get to a certain point, you're really fast,' and he's really fast. When he was here on his visit he weighed 196 pounds, and he cracked a bone in his leg in his last game of the year so he hasn't been able to train, and he still weighed 196 pounds. So what's great about him is that he could weigh 215, maybe 220, and he's already running a 10.5.
"With J.D. King, we've wanted him for a long time, but I was concerned about us holding him because of the distance," Gundy said about a back that kept getting better and more attention all season. "When he came back on his visit with his mom, I had a good conversation with her. She said from day one that when he visited here in the spring, he called her and said 'Mom, I'm going to Oklahoma State'. He said 'I've never felt this way. It feels like home and I'm going to Oklahoma State.' So we were able to hang on to him. He's another young man that is already over 200 pounds. I think he was 207 on his visit. So we've got a couple of backs that can be good if they're durable and potentially play at 215 or 220 pounds."
Hubbard and King both say they are anxious to get to Stillwater.
"I'm ready to get there. I'm excited and if there is an opportunity then I'd like to compete for playing time," Hubbard said.
"I've been taught that it's not just about running with the ball, you have to block, and be ready to catch the ball. I want to do whatever I can to help my team win. That is what means the most to me, my team winning," King said of how he looks at his role.
Gundy always seems to find a way to throw freshmen backs into the deep end in an early fall scrimmage and I would expect the same with this new duo.
Martin Told to Be Ready
Another member of the class that has already been told to be ready is Oologah defensive end Brock Martin. Martin is right at 220 pounds right now as he is in the final month of a wrestling season where he is unbeaten and looking for a third straight individual state championship in the sport, this season at 220 pounds. Martin will get his weight up after wrestling and could easily be close to 240 pounds by summer and fall camp. It sounds like he will need to be. We thought with all the returning defensive ends at Oklahoma State that Martin could red-shirt.
"Coach Clements called me last night," Martin said on Tuesday after signing his Letter of Intent. "He said I need to be ready to play next season because two of his defensive ends came back from the break at 290 pounds and will likely be moved inside (defensive tackle). Because of that he said I will need to be ready to play."
Martin is a physical player and I don't think that will be a problem, but the guessing game now is to which defensive ends came back looking like defensive tackles?
Trey Carter, who had a good game in the Alamo Bowl, is a slam dunk as he played most of last season at 280-plus pounds. Carter had a sack and was in on a tackle for loss against Colorado. My other guess is one of the defensive stars from the Alamo Bowl in Jarrell Owens, who had four tackles and a tackle for loss in the game. Owens was listed at 270 last season and played closer to 275 pounds.
Don't Get Fooled By Wallace Twins
When asked on signing day the Wallace twins had different answers for the same question. I asked them which one of the twin brothers was most handsome?
"I hate to say this, but I definitely think it is me," quarterback/athlete Tracin Wallace said. "Tylan is a good guy, but I think it's me."
"I hate to dispute my brother and say he's wrong, but I really believe that I'm the better looking one," disagreed four-star and All-American wide receiver Tylan Wallace.
The truth of it is most people can't tell one from the other, and the Wallaces like it that way. The sons of a very attractive mom in Mandi Moore, the two young men got their mother's good looks.
"We usually go everywhere together. It's not often we're apart," added Tracin.
But when they are apart, how many people can tell which one is which? Tylan says they still will fool people and sometimes without trying.
"Since we got our haircut it's a little easier (Tracin has a tighter haircut than Tylan), but there are still people that get us mixed up and when our hair is more alike we can mess up almost everybody," Tylan said.
This should be a lot of fun for Mike Gundy, Mike Yurcich, and Kasey Dunn this summer and next season. I will bet that it doesn't take Rob Glass long to figure out which one is which.