A large chunk of the incoming OSU recruiting class has had months in the program to learn the ropes, add muscle, and position themselves for roles in the 2021 season. And during that span, we’ve had time to read tea leaves, understand which newcomers are standing out and draw conclusions about who might — and might not — make an impact as true rookies.
Now it’s time to make some pre-fall-camp predictions.
Based on some spring smoke and my own conjecture, here are the six true freshman I think could earn roles in 2021 — ranked from most likely to least likely to do so.
1 and 2. Bryson and Blaine Green | WRs
The highest-rated offensive player in the 2021 class, Bryson Green is an electric factory in the open field who might be too talented to keep off it. And with the receiving corps. looking to add explosiveness to its rebuilt and reloaded ranks, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if he asserted himself into the conversation in a meaningful way in ways similar to Jalen McCleskey or Tylan Wallace in their first years. Twin brother Blaine Green has also made an impression in his short stint in Stillwater, and he, too, could be one to push for a significant role this season.
3. Kendal Daniels | Safety
It wasn’t until February that Daniels — a Texas A&M signee — asked out of his LOI before committing to OSU days later. So a late jump on getting into the program at OSU might hold him back from warranting a placement so high on this list. But Daniels is a star and I’m just betting on the talent winning out here. The top-ranked talent in the state of Oklahoma for last cycle, he logged 120 tackles, six sacks and four interceptions as a senior at Beggs. He looks the part, too, and at 6-foot-4 with elite ball skills, he’s someone who looks primed to become a mainstay of OSU’s secondary for years to come.
4. Collin Oliver | DE
The last LEO talents to hail from Edmond Santa Fe (Calvin Bundage and Trace Ford) turned out pretty well for OSU. Oliver is set to join that duo as a potential early contributor because of his elite pass-rushing instincts off the edge. Starting linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez at Big 12 media days specifically pointed to Oliver as someone who could earn reps this season.
5. John Paul Richardson | WR
A shifty athlete who was both a track and football star in high school, JPR is the type of explosive receiver who can blow the top off defenses and is also technically sound enough to win in short areas. Reminds me of Dillon Stoner a bit in that he’s not physically imposing but makes fast people look not fast, and knows how to battle in coverage. Maybe a guy who can contribute in special teams or earn time as a gadget player in the offense.
6. Aden Kelley | DT
Having OSU’s best long-term prospect at No. 6 on this list feels a little blasphemous, I’ll admit. Kelley was OSU’s highest-rated recruit (before Daniels’ late flip), a high school All-American and a bonafide star. It’s just that OSU’s defensive line appears to be loaded on the interior with Brendon Evers, Israel Antwine, Collin Clay, Sione Asi, Jayden Jernigan and others. Even accounting for that depth, however, he still might be good enough to play meaningful snaps in 2021. He is one of the most physically ready among all of OSU’s freshmen to play a role early on in his career.
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