Defensive end: Strength in numbers?
Among the few real position battles in OSU's preseason, defensive end may pose the greatest opportunity for the candidates involved.
And there are several candidates involved.
The Cowboys don't return a player with starting experience, having lost Nigel Nicholas, Ryan Robinson and Cooper Bassett from a year ago. Still, they have a veteran in senior Tyler Johnson and a belief that a cast of youngsters will produce playmakers at the position.
“That's the neat thing about this year, we have depth,” said Johnson, who has played in 31 games at linebacker and end. “Jimmy Bean, he can play. Trace Clark, he can play. You've got the transfer Sam Wren, he can go. Emmanuel Ogbah … So we've got depth. And we're excited.
“If guys need a breather, we're not going to have any problem giving it to him. We trust the man behind us — and in front of us — that he's going to take care of business.”
SANDERS TO REVISIT 1988
Former Cowboys standout Barry Sanders will be featured in an in-depth interview on CBS Sports Network on the series ONE2ONE Thursday at 8 p.m.
Sanders sits down with he network's Brian Jones to discuss a variety of topics, including his run to the 1988 Heisman Trophy in this 25th anniversary year of him winning the award. Other topics include his aspirations to be like Tony Dorsett, how he compares himself to Earl Campbell and Walter Payton and why he considers his 1997 season with the Detroit Lions the best football of his life.
GUNDY VALUES KANSAS RECRUITING GROUND
Mike Gundy has long claimed Texas as an “in-state” recruiting ground for OSU. But Gundy and his staff are focusing on other outside pipelines as well, noticeable in their recent success in Kansas.
Since 2010, the Cowboys have pulled in running back Joseph Randle (Wichita Southeast), injury-plagued defensive back Devin Hedgepeth (Derby), defensive end rotation candidate Trace Clark (Wichita Collegiate) and 2013 four-star athlete Jerel Morrow (Emporia) from Kansas.
Jeremiah Ledbetter, a two-star defensive tackle from Hutchinson, has committed for the 2014 class.
Gundy suggested at Big 12 Media Days last month that some players from Kansas get overlooked nationally. A reason for that? The lack of airports.
“If you fly into Kansas City, you're basically in Missouri,” Gundy said. “There's not any other airports, for the most part. Wichita's not as big. So you don't get the (recruiting) traffic. People are not going to go in there, because it's hard to get in and out.”
STEWART ON WATCH FOR NEW AWARD
From Tyler, Texas, comes a new college football honor: the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award.
And OSU receiver Josh Stewart is on the list.
Named for the former Heisman winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame member — who hails from Tyler and was nicknamed the Tyler Rose — the award is aimed at the top offensive Division I football player who “also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community and tenacity; specifically tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals.”
BY JOHN HELSLEY AND GINA MIZELL