What good is the college offseason without speculating on what players could become the next star? Here are 10 returning Oklahoma State players in position to have a breakout season:
Ra’Shaad Samples, RS Fr., WR: The lightning-fast receiver will finally get on the field after redshirting last season. Samples’ athletic ability is off the charts, and fellow receivers say he can make an impact. Samples runs the 40 in 4.32 seconds — that alone is enough reason to watch out.
Paul Lewis, So., OL: OSU’s offensive line is not in great shape with injuries, graduation and other departures narrowing down the field. The Cowboys also have a new line coach in Bob Connelly. Lewis played in six games last season and started against Lamar. Someone has to fill in at center, and Lewis, a redshirt sophomore, could be the guy to do it.
Rennie Childs, So., RB: Childs stepped onto the stage with 45 yards on 16 carries against TCU last season and also gained 70 yards at Texas Tech. He’s a shifty runner, and offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said he will have a role in 2014. The question is: with Desmond Roland as the unquestioned starter and junior college transfer Tyreek Hill entering the backfield, how big can that role be?
Tre Flowers, RS Fr., S: Flowers dealt with some growing pains this spring, but OSU’s free safety spot appears to remain wide open. Flowers, a redshirt freshman, has competition from Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns, but the OSU track long jumper is the best athlete of the bunch. Now it’s a matter of turning athleticism into on-field results.
Marcell Ateman, So., WR: Ateman’s 6-foot-4, 210-pound build makes him an ideal outside target. He had 22 catches for 276 yards last season, and should get far more chances this year. But coaches have hinted Ateman struggles with work ethic, and he failed to impress in the spring. In a loaded receiving corps, Ateman will need more than size to stand out.