STILLWATER — When Oklahoma State’s spring football practice opens three weeks from today, the team might have to consider selling programs to fans so they can identify who is catching passes. There’s no hiding the fact that Oklahoma State’s receiving corps took a major hit last week. Or, over the last couple months, for that matter. Star wideout Dez Bryant underwent minor knee surgery. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew graduated. Damian Davis, William Cole and Jeremy Broadway were dismissed. Bo Bowling was suspended. The team’s No. 1 feel-good story, Artrell Woods, decided to leave the team. For the moment, let’s assume that Bryant and Bowling, as expected, are unavailable for spring practice. That leaves five receivers or tight ends who have caught a pass for OSU to take part in spring drills. And none who caught a pass before the 2008 season. But everyone knows what Bryant can do, so maybe the situation is ideal. The young and inexperienced receivers will get extra work, maybe spurring their development on the way to a more prominent role in the fall. There are some intriguing additions to the receiving group for spring. There are the talented freshmen who redshirted in 2008 — Justin Blackmon, Isaiah Anderson and Adrian Richards — and Dylan Brown, the one-time Florida high school all-state receiver who has played for the OSU baseball team the last two seasons, but decided to try football this year. And there will be unlimited chances to impress the coaches in the last structured workouts in front of them until August. Here are three pass-catchers with the most to gain in spring practice: → Josh Cooper: The primary position for the sophomore-to-be from Mustang is the slot, played in 2008 by Davis and Bowling, so the opportunity to step to the forefront at the position is optimal. →Blackmon: The Plainview High School product generated as much buzz as any redshirting freshman in 2008. The door is open for someone to step in as the No. 2 receiver opposite Bryant, and Blackmon has loads of talent. →Jamal Mosley: The tight end has been an important piece of the passing game, and the coaching staff obviously likes Mosley in that realm. He had five catches as a true freshman, with his primary playing time coming during the span when Pettigrew was injured.
Here are the career statistics for Oklahoma State’s returning wide receivers and tight ends for the 2009 football season: