Oklahoma State was back on the practice field, actually the Sherman Smith Training Facility, both inside and the adjacent outside fields for a close to three hour practice. Now, that is about as long as you will ever see a Mike Gundy-coached team practice, but there were corrections to go over and make from the scrimmage on Friday and today was an install day for both the offense and defense. On top of that there was seven-on-seven for the skill sets and pass pro and inside drill as well for the linemen and backs and linebackers.
This was practice number 10 for the Cowboys making it officially two-thirds of the way through spring football and once a spring at Go Pokes, we like to devote a practice story to some of the unsung players that you might not know, may not have heard much about, but that we've noticed getting more and more reps and starting to make inroads on playing time. Remember, this is a time where there is a reduced roster as only quarterback Jelani Woods, star linebacker Brendan Vaughn, and cornerback Lamarcus Morton checked in mid-year as true freshmen. The rest of the freshmen class comes in this summer.
Here goes with our under the radar or as Cowboys play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker might say a list of buy low and see high guys (players who could see their stock rise dramatically).
33 Landon Wolf, RS-Fr., Inside Receiver, 5-11, 170, Tulsa (East Central), Okla.
The coaches saw him in high school during evaluations and encouraged him to walk-on and once he arrived he became a star on the scout team. Wolf will see action somewhere, certainly special teams and I think you will see him some as a back-up in the slot receivers group. He has excellent hands and catches tough and easy balls. He has speed and he is tough. Lots of respect here from the coaches and from teammates. Players know players and Wolf is a player.
89 Austin Parker, Jr., WR, 6-1, 195, Grapevine, Texas/SE Okla. State
Parker is the son of Brent Parker and he is getting reps with the second team. I know the wide receiver position in crowded but he is showing up and making plays. It is hard to anticipate much playing time at receiver for someone not named Washington, Ateman, Lacy, Johnson, etc., but Parker is putting himself in position.
68 Deionte Noel, Jr., OG, 6-2, 325, Cibolo (Steele), Texas
A scholarship player that has never risen above the scout team and honestly, I never expected to see on the two-deep. This is the kind of player that new offensive line coach Josh Henson talks about thinking he will never play and then all of a sudden when he sees he is getting an opportunity then he responds. Noel needs to get in better shape, but his effort and performance has been good enough to consistently run second team left guard and you can see he is motivated. He is playing better than I've ever seen him perform.
41 Britton Abbott, Jr., CW, 6-2, 255, Liberal, Kan.
Not exactly as unknown or unsung, Abbott is likely your replacement for Zac Veatch. He is stout and he is a blocker deluxe. He can also catch the ball and make plays. He is a special teams guy that will make the depth chart on most of those units.
84 Dayton Metcalf, RS-Fr., CW, 6-4, 230, Hooker, Okla.
Walk-on from last summer and fall, Metcalf made a nice catch today and I've kept my eye on him. He is likely a year away, but sure seems to be growing into that mold we saw guys like Jeremy Seaton and Blake Jarwin come out of. He is worth keeping an eye on.
22 Ja'Ron Wilson, RS-Fr., RB, 5-10, 225, Euless (Trinity), Texas
Mike Gundy mentioned him after the scrimmage last Friday. He runs hard, has the wider frame, and could be the power back that Oklahoma State needs in their set of running backs, hopefully, three that can be counted on and led by Justice Hill. Blocking in a two-back set could be the difference maker on who fulfills that role.
99 Trey Carter, Jr., DT, 6-3, 295, Dallas (Pinkston), Texas
I know, another player that is not exactly coming from off the grid, in fact, we've featured Carter this spring. Go Pokes was the first to feature him in his new role. He just keeps improving. He looked really good in practice on Monday. He is getting better on run stopping and holding that inside gap and is a natural on pass rush as he is quicker than most inside technique pass rushers.
16 Devin Harper, RS-Fr., LB, 6-1, 240, Knoxville (Karns), Tenn.
Okay, Harper has filled out quite a bit. He checked in last season at 6-1, 210 and now is 240. Inside linebacker all the way and the Cowboys need some numbers inside with Chad Whitener taking so much load last season and J.C. transfer Patrick Macon is in line there, but keep an eye on Harper. He is pretty athletic still for the 240 pounds he carries. He is not shy about being physical. It could get interesting if he will keep soaking up the defense mentally.
5 Jerel Morrow, Sr., Saf., 5-10, 205, Emporia, Kan.
He is the special teams player of the year two years running, but he is making more and more plays in practice at safety. Nobody is saying he will start at safety, but he could be a very valuable back-up that has experience and could help out. It is a position caught a little think numbers-wise with Kenneth Edison-McGruder moving down to star linebacker.
There are other as I have become really fond of off-season competition stars Phillip Redwine-Bryant that has moved over to safety and fellow walk-on Reshawn Parker at linebacker. A team has to have it's unsung members, and it is always special when some of them graduate from unsung to singing loudly. I'm not sure any of these guys will, but so far this spring they are working to put themselves in position to have more substantial roles come this fall.