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OSU has history of excellent return men

Freshman Justin Gilbert might be next in line
BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Modified: September 23, 2010 at 8:52 am •  Published: September 22, 2010

The Cowboys have a long history of producing premier return men.

Even over the past decade, they've featured Gabe Lindsay, Chris Massey, Darrent Williams, Grant Jones, Perrish Cox and Dez Bryant as momentum-shifting threats on punt or kickoff returns.

"Hopefully we can find another one," said OSU special teams coach Joe DeForest.

In truth, DeForest feels he's found the next great one: Justin Gilbert. The true freshman has been dynamic in practice, but has yet to break his first big one on Saturdays.

"We feel Gilbert can do it," DeForest said. "He's just got to learn."

The Cowboys have picked their spots with Gilbert, also using Josh Cooper on punt returns and Kendall Hunter, Johnny Thomas and Joseph Randle on kickoffs.

Cooper actually leads OSU with a 23.7 average on punt returns, highlighted by a 66-yard touchdown romp against Troy. Because of his sure hands, Cooper is a safe option, too.

"You always like to be on the field," said Cooper, "but we have a lot of guys who can make plays."

Gilbert, a former Texas high school sprint champion, is the one guy who can break open a game at any moment.

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