By Scott Wright
Friday is Oklahoma State’s final open practice before the April 18 spring game, so if you’re making the trip out for the 3:30 p.m. workout, here are a few players worth keeping an eye on.
1. Richetti Jones: The sophomore defensive end is still getting his strength back after that devastating hip injury he suffered more than two years ago, but there’s playing time to be won at DE, and he’s catching the eye of Bill Young. Even after the injury, he’s still a solid speed rusher, which is the biggest need of the defensive line. Young said this week that he can envision Jones getting some meaningful playing time this year.
2. Justin Blackmon: I’m going to be writing about this receiver from Plainview High School in Ardmore this weekend, but fans will get a chance to check him out today. Mike Gundy says they knew from the start that he had the physical tools to be an early contributor and now the redshirt freshman is showing that he has the mental composure to do it, too. There’s a good chance he’ll be in the two-deep this fall, so get to know him.
3. Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden: Zac Robinson isn’t getting thrown into a lot of live action this spring. Let’s face it, he knows the offense and he’s earned the rest. But the backup battle rages on. Brandon Weeden was strong in Wednesday’s practice, according to Gundy, but there are eight more workouts for this competition to continue.
4. Victor Johnson: After earning playing time as a true freshman, Johnson is now the front-runner to start at strong safety. He’s very impressive athletically and continues to make plays in the spring.
5. Donald Booker: The junior-college linebacker is finally coming around and might earn some playing time this fall. But either way, he’s fun to watch in practice, with his speed big hits.
OSU scrimmaged for more than 125 plays on Wednesday. Here are some of Gundy’s comments:
“Offensively, we’ve got a long ways to go, but we’ve got guys that are making plays. I’m really encouraged by the young running backs that we have in this program. I like Kye Staley, Dexter Pratt — he’s out for a couple days with turf toe — I like Travis Miller when he keeps his head up and run fast. I like (tight ends) Justin Horton and Jamal Mosley, and (receiver) Justin Blackmon. Isaiah Anderson made a couple catches. I really like the young players on the team. Weeden actually performed better than anybody today, even Zac Robinson.
“I like Andre Sexton as a veteran guy. Booker is finally starting to show up — typical deal, been here a year, makes some plays now. Jeremiah Price and Terrance Anderson have played well. I like both of our safeties — Johnny Thomas and Victor Johnson — are tackling. Also, Walker Smith, the walk-on — we call him Texas Ranger — I like him coming up and making some tackles. He’s actually a guy who could have an impact. He’s performing very well. Justin Gent is making some plays.
“The effort and the physical part of the scrimmage was very good.”