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Oklahoma State spring football preview: Offensive and defensive line

by Gina Mizell Modified: April 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013

Continuing our position-by-position breakdown leading up to the start of Oklahoma State spring football.

Today, we look at the offensive and defensive line.

Offensive line

Who’s gone
Lane Taylor, departed senior
Evan Epstein, departed senior
Jonathan Rush, departed senior

Who’s back
Parker Graham, junior
Daniel Koenig, junior
Brandon Webb, senior
Eli Dickerson, junior
Jake Jenkins, junior
Devin Davis, sophomore
Travis Cross, sophomore
Chris Grishby, junior
Michael Wilson, redshirt freshman
Paul Lewis, redshirt freshman
Zac Veatch, redshirt freshman

Who’s new
Brandon Garrett, junior (mid-year junior college transfer)

Who arrives in the fall
Zachary Crabtree, freshman
Zack Kurzu, freshman
Jesse Robinson, freshman
Jaxon Salinas, freshman

The skinny
With Taylor’s departure, look for Graham to take over the leadership duties on the line. The Cowboys will need to replace their center for the second consecutive season, but Jenkins looks ready to slide into that role after backing up Epstein last season and starting one game. Webb, the group’s only senior, became a starter at left guard by season’s end. Devin Davis is regarded as a rising star.

Other offensive linemen on spring football roster
Grant Canis
Tevin Talton

Defensive end

Who’s gone

Ryan Robinson, departed senior
2012 stats: 32 tackles (eight for loss), 2.5 sacks, six pass breakups, four quarterback hurries

Nigel Nicholas, departed senior
2012 stats: 28 tackles (five for loss), four sacks, two pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick

Cooper Bassett, departed senior
2012 stats: 21 tackles (two for loss), one pass breakup, four quarterback hurries

Who’s back

Tyler Johnson, senior
2012 stats: 27 tackles (six for loss), four sacks, one pass breakup, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception

Trace Clark, sophomore
2012 stats: five tackles, one quarterback hurry

Jimmy Bean, sophomore

Eric Davis, redshirt freshman

Victor Irokansi, redshirt freshman

Emmanuel Ogbah, redshirt freshman

Who’s new
Sam Wren, junior (mid-year junior college transfer)
Naim Mustafaa, freshman (early enrollee)

Who arrives in the fall
Vili Leveni, freshman

The skinny

This time last year, Johnson was prepping to make the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end. Now, he’s suddenly the most experienced of the bunch and coming off perhaps the best performance of his career in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. He’s in line to start at the “Leo” spot, a hybrid position that will allow him to use his speed and athleticism to occasionally drop into pass coverage. The rest of the group is young and largely inexperienced, though Wren is probably most expected to come in and play right away.

Other defensive ends on spring football roster
Kaleb Cusak
Michael Glover
Taylor May

Defensive tackle

Who’s gone

Christian Littlehead, left program
2012 stats: four tackles

Who’s back

Calvin Barnett, senior
2012 stats: 30 tackles (8.5 for loss), one sack, four quarterback hurries, one pass breakup
Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year

James Castleman, junior
2012 stats: 30 tackles (6.5 for loss), one sack, three pass breakups, one quarterback hurry, one interception

Davidell Collins, senior
2012 stats: Nine tackles (one for loss), two pass breakups, one fumble recovery

Anthony Rogers, senior
2012 stats: 10 tackles (three for loss), two quarterback hurries

Who arrives in the fall
Ofa Hautau, junior
Ben Hughes, freshman
Vincent Taylor, freshman

The skinny

What the Cowboys may lack in depth they make up for in experience, with both starters returning and giving OSU what Mike Gundy calls the first real duo of prototypical tackles during his tenure as head coach. Barnett still needs to work on correctly channeling his emotions (remember the Arizona game?) but should be expected to be one of the biggest forces in the trenches in the Big 12 this season. With just a two-deep set, Taylor and Hughes will have a chance to get into the rotation when they arrive for fall camp.

Others defensive tackles on spring football roster
Daniel Cooley

Rest of the series

Tuesday: Running backs and fullbacks
Wednesday: Receivers and tight ends
Friday: Linebackers and secondary
Saturday: Specialists

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by Gina Mizell
OSU Sports Reporter
Gina Mizell joined The Oklahoman in August of 2011 as the Oklahoma State beat writer, where she covered the Cowboys' historic run to the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl in her first season on the job. Before arriving in Stillwater, Gina was...
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