Breaking down a reshuffled Oklahoma State receiving corps
One of the biggest questions surrounding Oklahoma State spring practice is who is going to replace Justin Blackmon.
The answer is nobody is going to straight-up fill the gigantic hole left by the two-time Biletnikoff winner. But Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson have expressed a strong desire to be that go-to receiver in 2012. That should be expected from a pair of seniors.
But the reality is the Cowboys need to replace multiple receiver roles, not just Blackmon’s. Josh Cooper. Hubert Anyiam (he was healthy for half of the season). Colton Chelf. Michael Harrison.
With just one week of spring practice to go, these are the Cowboys I currently see sliding into those spots. Some of them are based on size/playing style/position. Some are based on production predictions and don’t take position (inside or outside) into account.
Of course, plenty of things can change by September. Six freshmen receivers will arrive in fall camp, and it’s fair to expect one or two to play in their first year. Injuries could happen. Someone could really progress in the summer or camp, or once the season begins.
2011 Justin Blackmon=2012 Tracy Moore
Blackmon’s 2011 stats: 122 catches, 1,522 yards, 18 touchdowns
Again, no one is going to replace the production of Justin Blackmon by themselves. Tracy Moore will not be expected to catch 122 passes and 18 touchdowns. But Kasey Dunn talked last week about how pleased he has been with Moore’s transition into Blackmon’s old spot on the outside. Moore has dropped close to 15 pounds to help with his speed. He’s shown at times he can be a dangerous playmaker—most notably in his performances against Louisiana-Lafayette (seven catches, 112 yards, one touchdown) and Kansas State (nine catches, 146 yards, one touchdown) last season. He called the way he was disciplined in the Fiesta Bowl a big learning experience. He’s a prideful guy, but he needs to channel that into leadership as one of the senior receivers.
2011 Josh Cooper=2012 Josh Stewart
Cooper’s 2011 stats: 71 catches, 715 yards, three touchdowns
I’ve mentioned before that Josh Stewart has arguably been the best offensive player in spring ball, and that still holds true. Last season, Stewart always seemed to make one “wow” play each game, but he was still picking up the offense as a true freshman. He’s smaller than Cooper, but a bit flashier, and should become a reliable option in his second season. He has the awareness to find the open holes in the defense for the catch and then the shifty moves to make potential tacklers miss (the buzz word from Dunn and inside receivers coach Doug Meacham is “twitch”). He’s going to be fun to watch over the next three years.
2011 Hubert Anyiam/Isaiah Anderson=2012 Isaiah Anderson
Anyiam’s 2011 stats: 27 catches, 370 yards, three touchdowns (six games)
Anderson’s 2011 stats: 28 catches, 315 yards, four touchdowns
This one was easy, because he’s really the only guy that has basically the same role as last season. Anderson filled in nicely when Anyiam got hurt, catching 22 passes for 231 yards and one touchdown. But that production will have to increase with the loss of Blackmon. He’s a speedster that could become a bigger vertical threat.
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