The long offseason is almost behind us. Football is nearly here.
Oklahoma State will look for a bounce-back season in 2023 after a disappointing 2022, and the Cowboys will have to do so with new faces all over the field.
Because of all that turnover, this feels like the toughest season of the Mike Gundy era to predict, but let’s take a swing at it. Here are predictions from the PFB staff for Oklahoma State’s 2023 season.
Scott: Brennan Presley. When’s the last time a wide receiver was OSU’s offensive MVP? Tylan Wallace? With so many unknowns entering the year, give me a known commodity in Brennan Presley to lead the way for OSU. Whether it’s in the slot, the return game or anywhere else, I expect Presley to get the ball a ton in 2023.
Cox: Alan Bowman. The lack of an official announcement on QB1 may have cooled fans’ jets on Bowman’s bandwagon, but I have to believe that Bowman will be the guy until he proves he’s not. I think he could be really good at OSU. Just look at Gundy’s track record in favoring experience behind center. If that is the case, will he be the de facto most valuable player, whether he puts up MVP-like numbers? We’ll see. But I think he has a chance to.
Gregory: Ollie Gordon. I don’t care who QB1 is because they’re all capable of handing the ball to Gordon, and that’s all that needs to matter. Gordon didn’t get as much opportunity as he should have as a frosh, but in the first game he finally got double-digit carries, Gordon ran for 136 yards and a TD against West Virginia. He averaged 4.9 yards a carry in the limited opportunity he got last season. As long as Ollie Gordon gets fed, he could end up being the best running back in the Big 12 this season.
Scott: Kendal Daniels. Bryan Nardo’s 3-3-5 scheme feels like it was tailor-made for Kendal Daniels at the rover spot. At 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, Daniels is going to be all over the place. I see him finishing with big tackle numbers while still making plays in the defensive backfield.
Cox: I’m going with Xavier Benson. He quietly became one of the Cowboys’ top defenders last year and has been lauded for his leadership skills this offseason. And just last week, Mike Gundy tabbed him as the most improved player since the bowl game. His head coach is happy for him, and you should be too.
Gregory: Kendal Daniels. I tried not to copy anyone with my picks, but Daniels is just too dang good. I agree with Marshall. I have my worries about the defense this season, but whether exceeding expectations or lackluster as a whole, Daniels will still be a monster.
Scott: Ollie Gordon. I think Oklahoma State has three capable backs entering 2023, but I’ll take Gordon as the group’s bell cow here in August. Gordon’s best game as a freshman in 2022 came in the regular season finale against West Virginia, where he ran for 136 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries — one of only two times on the year he had double-digit carries. Given a more consistent workload in 2023, I expect more of the same.
Cox: Ollie Gordon is the man, and now he’s more of a man. After a rookie season punctuated by upside and spin moves, he’s going to have a chance to put the offense on his back in a scheme that’s more dedicated to rushing the ball. I’m excited to see what he looks like in Year 2.
Gregory: Ollie Gordon. He’s my Offensive MVP. Gordon is from Euless Trinity. If there’s anything I learned from a football season in the DFW area it’s that no one knows running the football better than the Trojans. Coming from Trinity (my wife’s high school rival so don’t tell her), Gordon was essentially created in a lab to carry a football into the end zone. Not only do I think Gordon can be the best back on this team, but also in the Big 12.
Scott: Brennan Presley. Well, I had him as my MVP, so it makes sense I’d also have him as the Cowboys’ leading receiver. It’s been tough over the years for a slot receiver to lead the Cowboys in receiving, but Presley comfortably did in 2022. He could have competition from De’Zhaun Stribling, Jaden Bray, Talyn Shettron and others, but I think OSU’s staff gets creative in getting Presley the rock in his senior season.
Cox: Talyn Shettron. It’s hard not to pick Brennan Presley, but hear me out. Conventional wisdom might lead you to think that Presley steps it up for the third-straight year (I still predict he does that). But when the Cowboys have a dude that commands the ball on the outside, it’s hard to compete with those numbers. I might be getting into the orange Kool-Aid a bit, but I think — with a big year from Bowman — Shettron can be that guy. He can lead the Cowboys in receiving, while Presley still has a big year.
Gregory: Brennan Presley. When I draft fantasy football players, I always pick reliability over boom or bust. That’s what I did here too. Presley has proven every season he’s the best receiver in that locker room, so I’m always going to bet on Presley until he gives a reason not to.
Scott: Kendal Daniels. Another duplicate. Pretty much everything I mentioned above — Daniels is going to be everywhere, and with his athleticism, he’s going to get a lot of guys on the ground.
Cox: Justin Wright. The Cowboys got a boon when they landed Tulsa’s leading tackler, especially after rising star Mason Cobb headed to West Coast. Wright brings with him over 250 career tackles. He led or shared the lead in Golden Hurricane tackles the last three seasons. I predict he keeps up that streak in Stillwater.
Gregory: Justin Wright. This was the toughest decision I had to make. I do think Daniels will be the best defensive player on the field this season, but Wright has a knack for tallying up tackles. It basically came down to Wright being in the line of defense before Daniels. But whatever Wright misses, I don’t see many getting by Daniels too.
Scott: Nathan Latu. This one is a little tougher because OSU’s defensive ends are unproven for the most part. I was tempted to still say Collin Oliver from his new linebacker spot, but Latu told me he has a personal goal of “12-plus” sacks in 2023. That would certainly do the trick.
Cox: Collin Oliver. I predict that the Bedlam hero keeps up with his paper or plastic ways, despite his move to linebacker. You can bet that he’ll get put in the position to pin his ears back and feast in opposing backfields. He’s been the Pokes’ sack king for two years running, and I don’t think he’s abdicating the crown.
Gregory: Collin Oliver. This is similar to my reasoning with Presley as leading receiver. I frequently envision in my head Oliver sacking Caleb Williams to seal a Bedlam win. Good times. Oliver is the proven commodity. On a defense full of unknown, dance with the girl who brought you.
Freshman of the Year
Scott: Talyn Shettron. After playing four games and redshirting in 2022, Shettron has some buzz in fall camp, which makes me think he’ll at least get some looks in 2023. A former top 150 recruit, Shettron has a lot of the tools to be successful at 6-2, 195. That paired with getting his toes wet last season could make for a breakout year.
Cox: It’s hard not to agree with Marsh on this one. Talyn Shettron showed flashes of his talent in 2022, and he looks set to play a major role in the offense this year. I expect big things from the (second-year) frosh.
Gregory: Garrett Rangel. I’m different, yeah, I’m different. Shettron is getting all the preseason buzz, but I’m going with the guy who I think will be throwing to him. I’m all in on Rangel for the future of OSU football, and even this season. Bowman may put my foot in my mouth, but, unlike Marshall, I do not see Bowman completing a full season as QB1 with his track record. That’s when Rangel comes in, and I predict he’ll turn a corner enough to not come off the field again.
Newcomer of the Year
Scott: Alan Bowman. I want to say Justin Kirkland, and while Kirkland might be the correct answer, it’s going to be hard to statistically go against a starting quarterback. If Bowman is able to stay healthy and build on his solid performances at Tech, the Cowboys will have gotten a steal out of the portal.
Cox: Justin Wright. It would be hard not to pick Bowman as Newcomer of the Year after I picked him as Offensive MVP. But for the sake of variety, let’s not sleep on the Wright for the reasons I mentioned above. Cobb left a big hole in the Cowboys’ defense, but the former Tulsa LB looks able to fill it.
Gregory: Justin Wright. This pick also may have more to do with my lack of faith in Bowman. I think Wright will lead the team in tackles, making the biggest impact of any newbie on this roster. Not many newcomers come through Stillwater with a resume like Wright.
Big 12 Record and Placing
Scott: 6-3 and fourth place.
Cox: 6-3 and fifth place.
Gregory: 6-3 and fourth place
Overall Record (Including Bowl)