STILLWATER — Things couldn’t have turned out much better for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys completed their spring drills as the White defeated the Orange 49-46 during the spring game at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday. This spring should rank as one of the most productive in recent memory.
“I thought we had a really productive spring,” coach Mike Gundy said. “We are relatively healthy, and we got a lot of young players a lot of reps.”
Here’s a look at five stars of spring on each side of the ball for the Cowboys:
• Receiver Michael Harrison:
The sophomore was having a terrific spring before injuring his foot and missing the spring game. He’s expected to return before preseason camp begins in August, and if he continues to develop and mature, Harrison could become a key part of the offense this fall.
• Running back Jeremy Smith:
The former Tulsa Union standout seems to get better and better each day. Smith was OSU’s short-yardage running back in 2010, and the quick feet, physical style and vision that earned him that role were on display this spring. The sophomore has the talent to be an every down back.
• Running back Joseph Randle:
An exceptional run-pass threat, Randle will play a big role in OSU’s offense in 2011. He’s known for his versatility and ability to catch the ball but, much like Smith, Randle could be an every down back if needed.
• Tackle Michael Bowie:
OSU returns five starters along an offensive line that was the foundation for one of college football’s best offenses in 2010. Yet, don’t be surprised if Bowie forces his way into the lineup this fall. If he continues to have a smooth transition into the Pokes’ system, he could prove to be too talented to keep on the sideline.
• Receiver Hubert Anyiam:
The senior didn’t have a great spring game, but he did have a great spring. Anyiam is one of the most talented players on the roster, so if he takes his game to another level during his final season in an OSU uniform, he should make plenty of big plays opposite Justin Blackmon.
• Cornerback Justin Gilbert:
A dynamic playmaker, Gilbert had a great spring and really improved as a cornerback. His combination of size and elite speed could make him a difference maker on OSU’s defense in 2011. Going against Blackmon every day really helped Gilbert understand how physical he must be to play corner in the Big 12. If he continues to be physical, he will be a big part of the secondary.
• Linebacker Tyler Johnson:
It was easy to assume Caleb Lavey would replace Orie Lemon on the defense, but Johnson has made that one of the best position battles on the team. The former pro baseball player is athletic and is willing to be physical. He should see significant time on defense this fall.
• Defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas:
The junior has stepped up at a critical position. He has quickness, which could create havoc for opposing offenses, and he is the most experienced defensive tackle on the roster. If he continues to perform at a high level, he will be a key to OSU’s defense.
• Defensive end Ryan Robinson:
Arrived on campus in January as a junior college transfer and made an immediate impact. Robinson has shown the ability to rush the passer and appears to be the No. 3 defensive end in the rotation. He had two sacks in the spring game.
• Defensive tackle Chris Littlehead:
The redshirt freshman really came on early in the spring and should be a part of the rotation this fall. At 332 pounds, Littlehead has the size to be an anchor in the interior. He just needs the experience that only playing in games will bring. Expect him to play an increased role as the 2011 season progresses.