The easiest slam dunk question about the 2007 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team is who will be the team's marquee wide receiver? That slam dunk answer, oddly enough, will spend the first couple of weeks of spring football playing basketball.
Adarius Bowman is on loan to the Cowboy basketball team, and barring a miracle he will be back with his football teammates when the Cowboys resume spring practice following spring break. That will give Bowman three weeks and nine practices to get back in the flow of catching passes and doing that thing he does to make defenders miss after the catch. It will be as important to have Bowman out there for the defense as it will for Bobby Reid and the offense. The Cowboy secondary needs to see a receiver like Bowman in spring because opponents will bring facsimile receivers at them in the fall.
Okay, Bowman is settled at the "A" receiver with junior Seth Newton behind him on the depth chart. Bowman's early absence in spring is going to allow a number of veteran receivers one last chance to impress before a talented group of freshman wide receivers arrive in the fall. Make no mistake about it, Dez Bryant, Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam and Damian Davis are coming in this summer with their eye on playing immediately. If they catch on, they have the talent to do it because wide receiver is a position where a freshman can quickly learn the system and play.
Anthony Parks is a great story. The former junior college standout persevered and is playing despite only having one kidney. But on a couple of opportunities he had last season to make important catches he dropped the ball. Parks has had a tremendous off season and it is coming down to a now or never time for the senior to be. He will compete with a talented young receiver in Jeremy Broadway at the "Z" or slot position. Broadway caught two passes as a freshman and seemed ready to have a good season as a sophomore when the speedster from Houston broke his hand early in fall camp. The decision was made to go ahead and redshirt him and he is coming back hungry to make up for a season of watching from the sidelines.
D'Juan Woods is gone and now veteran speedster Tommy Devereaux is on his last stand. Devereaux has always had the ability to get open and to make big plays after the catch. The problem has been the catch. He'll start the spring as the first choice at the "X" receiver. Last season "Tommy D" had three receptions, and his three-year total of 20 receptions is hardly impressive. Like Parks, it is down to now or never for the senior.
Devereaux will be pushed by, perhaps, the most talented young wide receiver on the squad in Artrell Woods. He is no relation to D'Juan and Rashaun, but this other Woods sure looks like the former All-American Rashaun. He is 6-1, 195 pounds and can run. In spot duty last season he caught two passes for nine yards. Right now he simply looks like he can be very good, this spring he gets his first chance to show how good he can be. His speed is his biggest attribute.
Four players you should keep in mind are DeMarcus Conner, a freshman that redshirted last season; former defensive back Scott Broughton, who has switched numbers to 81 and will get a look at wide receiver; and two walk-ons in Jon Morris and Todd Nelson. Nelson is a guy that practices hard and catches everything thrown at him. He could factor in as a possession-type of receiver.
Either way the players with a chance need to show what they have this spring because by the end of spring Bowman will be back and will be the number one target, and some talented newcomers will be in by mid summer.
At tight end the equation is pretty simple and the cast is very well known. Brandon Pettigrew continues to improve and the 6-5, 265-pounder is already very talented. He will be a strong force for the offense for the next two seasons. You could see Pettigrew growing into a premier role throughout the course of the 2006 season.
Justin Waller may be the best blocker of the Cowboy tight end trio. He also proved in 2006 he was capable of making big catches. His biggest came on the first scoring drive against Alabama in the Independence Bowl and it set up the first touchdown. The ankle injury he suffered on that play is fully healed and he goes into spring practice as the number two tight end. The third option isn't bad as Paschal Smith is a senior that has proven he can play.
2007 Oklahoma State Spring Football Wide Receivers and Tight Ends Depth Chart
Wide Receiver - X
10 Tommy Devereaux, 6-0, 185, Sr., Duncanville, Texas
83 Artrell Woods, 6-1, 195, So., Bryan, Texas
Wide Reciever - A
12 Adarius Bowman, 6-4, 220, Sr., Chattanooga (Notre Dame), Tenn./North Carolina
15 Seth Newton, 6-3, 200, Jr., Girard, Kan.
26 Todd Nelson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Edmond (Edmond North), Okla.
Wide Receiver - Z
4 Anthony Parks, 6-1, 185, Sr., Olathe (Olathe East), Kan./Butler Co. C.C.
9 Jeremy Broadway, 6-0, 195, So., Houston (Washington), Texas
87 Brandon Pettigrew, 6-5, 265, Jr., Tyler (Lee), Texas
82 Justin Waller, 6-4, 250, Jr., Ponca City, Okla.
88 Paschal Smith, 6-4, 260, Sr., Dallas (Carter), Texas
Spring Football Preview: Receivers/Tight Ends
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