OSU football recruiting: D'Nerius Antoine what Cowboys need to replace explosive returners?

BY CHRIS BRANNICK, Staff Writer, cbrannick@opubco.com Published: January 31, 2014
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D'Nerius Antoine accomplished a lot last season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

“Naddy,” as head coach Brad Smiley calls him, earned first team National Junior College Athletics Association All-American honors.

Antoine also was selected a first team defensive back to the All-Southwest team and a Region 14 All-Region selection. Add those to his accomplishments as a punt returner and it's easy to see why the Cowboys would look to sign Naddy.

“First and foremost, he's a great kid with high character,” Smiley said. “He's the best player, defensive back, in this league.”

A high character, high quality guy is exactly what OSU needed. The Cowboys lost multi-year starters like Shaun Lewis, Caleb Lavey and Justin Gilbert; Antoine could slide in to fill one of those leadership positions.

"You could see on film his athleticism stood out. He's got skills and is a physical tackler," Smiley said.

Antoine returned three punts for touchdowns last season. He did it on 19 returns totaling a Southwest Region high 385 yards. His average, 20.3 yards per return, was second in the country.

As OSU tries to replace Gilbert and Josh Stewart in the return game, Antoine could be just the electric returner the Cowboys are looking for.

Antoine's choosing of Oklahoma State may have been influenced by Brandon Garrett too. The offensive lineman transferred from Trinity Valley last year. Smiley said the connection between those two helped in Antoine making his decision.


D'NERIUS ANTOINE

Hometown/school: New Iberia, La./Trinity Valley CC

Position: Linebacker

Height, Weight: 6-0, 215

Stars: Rivals – 3; Scout – Not ranked; ESPN – Not ranked

Twitter: None

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