Continuing our series looking at the 13 most important players for Oklahoma State’s 2013 season:
No. 3: Josh Stewart, inside receiver
The leading returning receiver in the Big 12 certainly deserves a high spot on this list.
Stewart rapidly emerged as the go-to receiving target for whoever was playing quarterback for Oklahoma State in 2012, piling up 101 catches, 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. That was particularly important with Tracy Moore’s season-ending ankle injury.
Stewart is hardly a menacing physical presence at 5-10 and 185 pounds, but he thrived in the slot because of his knack for finding the open spaces in the defense and then using his shiftiness to slip past potential tacklers after the catch.
This season, Stewart is a known commodity and a preseason All-Big 12 selection. But if his production dips slightly, that’s nothing to be alarmed about.
Coach Mike Gundy said he would actually prefer for Stewart to get fewer snaps this season in order to prevent fatigue down the stretch. Moore also returns for a fifth season and will be worthy of getting plenty of touches. Additionally, Stewart will take over the punt return duties after tallying a 64-yarder in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Still, Stewart became an extremely valuable Cowboy a season ago. He’ll be needed again in 2013.
Here’s our countdown so far:
13. Jake Jenkins, center
12. J.W. Walsh, quarterback
11. Shaun Lewis, linebacker
10. Blake Jackson, inside receiver
9. Tyler Johnson, defensive end
8. Lyndell Johnson, strong safety
7. Tracy Moore, wide receiver
6. Calvin Barnett, defensive tackle
5. Justin Gilbert, cornerback/kick returner
4. Ben Grogan, kicker
3. Josh Stewart, inside receiver/punt returner