STILLWATER – Isaiah Anderson longed for opportunity at Oklahoma State, laboring along into his junior year in an all-too-familiar backup role.
An injury to Hubert Anyiam wasn't what he wished for, and yet, Anderson was needed. And he responded, more than doubling his career reception total with 28 catches for 315 yards and four touchdowns.
Now, with the Cowboys seeking difference makers at wide receiver, Anderson recognizes greater opportunity – and opportunity to shine.
“I feel like it's going to be a good year,” Anderson said, revealing a signature broad smile.
Gone is Justin Blackmon and his reliable big-play ability. Gone, too: Josh Cooper, Colton Chelf, Michael Harrison and Anyiam.
No one figures to truly replace Blackmon, the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner. Still, someone must step into his slot. And someone must stretch the field.
That's when Anderson raises his hand high.
“Throw it my way deep anytime you need,” Anderson said. “If it's a big play you need, I'm that guy.”
One of the fastest Cowboys – Anderson ran for the OSU track team in 2009 and was clocked at 4.39 in the 40 that spring – he produced receptions of 18 yards or longer in seven games.
This spring, he's focusing on becoming a more complete receiver.
That's what opportunity can do.
“Isaiah's really embraced it, too,” said Kasey Dunn, OSU's outside receivers coach. “He's gotten better. He's working his tail off, working on becoming a great route runner. That's what he needs to be, a great route runner. He's not Blackmon. He's not going to just go out there and pound into guys, roll into spots and catch the ball and be athletic. That's not him.