Friday, May 21, 2010
The Revolving Door: Oklahoma State
By ESPN.com staff
Here, we'll take a look at a couple of key players going, staying and coming for each team in the Big 12.
Zac Robinson, QB
Robinson had a firm grasp on the starting job for most of the past three seasons, and was drafted in the seventh round by the New England Patriots as one of the most productive quarterbacks in school history, running and passing for 7.7 yards per play over his career, second-most nationally. With 7,786 total yards, he was the school's career leader in total offense and scored 66 touchdowns. He rushed for 847 yards as a sophomore in 2007, but in 2008, had the fifth-highest passer rating at 166.8.
Russell Okung, OT
Like Robinson, Okung has been a staple of the Cowboy offense for the past few seasons. Okung was a four-year starter on the Oklahoma State offensive line, and his talent and experience -- along with his 6-foot-5, 307-pound frame -- convinced the Seattle Seahawks to draft him No. 6 overall in last month's draft. Okung landed was a first-team All-American at tackle for the past two seasons, and was named the Big 12's Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2009. After taking over a starting role as a freshman, Okung finished his career with an astounding 47 consecutive starts.
Kendall Hunter, RB
Hunter and the other player on this list might need their own "Returning" heading, rather than "Staying." An ankle injury kept Hunter out of five games, and by the time he returned, senior Keith Toston had proved to be more than a serviceable replacement. Though Hunter isn't likely to equal his 1,555 yards (sixth-most nationally) from 2007, he'll get plenty of touches in new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's version of the "Air Raid" offense that racked up over 1,000 yards more than No. 2 offensive team. Hunter will still carry the ball, but might be more productive getting his touches in space, allowing him to use his lateral quickness to shake defenders.
Orie Lemon, LB
Lemon missed all of last season with a torn ACL, but impressed coordinator Bill Young enough this spring to have Young campaigning for Lemon as the nation's best middle linebacker. Along with defensive end Ugo Chinasa, Lemon will help give the Cowboys a good amount of talent in their front seven. In 2008, Lemon was second on the team in tackles in his first year as starter, with 90.
Shaun Lewis, LB
Lewis signed with Oklahoma State as its only ESPNU 150 member, but was ranked the No. 4 outside linebacker and the No. 75 overall prospect. Lewis, a Missouri City, Texas native, picked the Cowboys over Big 12 teams Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Nebraska, along with SEC powers Alabama, LSU and Florida.
Caleb Lavey and Kris Catlin, LBs
Lavey and Lewis, along with Kris Catlin, should add a solid influx of talent into Young's linebackers. Lavey ranked as the No. 9 inside linebacker and was rated by ESPNU as Oklahoma State's second-highest recruit. Catlin was the No. 13 inside linebacker and both bring impressive size to the middle of the defense as they learn from Lemon, possibly providing depth. Lavey measures at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, and Catlin is 215 pounds and stands 6-foot-2.
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