Of course, it's not a guarantee that all of these players expected to return will make an impact in 2013 and beyond. Running back Joseph Randle, one of the nation's premier running backs, could declare for the NFL Draft. A quarterback — or even two — could transfer after playing well in their stint as the starter. Injuries happen, as the Cowboys have learned so well this season.
But senior defensive end Cooper Bassett is satisfied with what he's leaving behind as he prepares to take the field at Boone Pickens Stadium for the final time.
“OSU's going to win multiple Big 12 championships and hopefully a national championship here pretty soon, because we're very close,” he said. “This program's been built up, and it's not a flash in the pan. With the coaching staff we have and the players we continually bring in and the support we get week in and week out…it's here to stay.
“I can't be happier to know that I'm leaving this place and it's going to continue to get bigger and better, and I get to come back and watch and enjoy and remember when.”