It’s been a rough stretch of news for OSU and its defensive line prospects ahead of the 2022 season of late with Israel Antwine declaring for the draft and Jayden Jernigan transferring to Missouri.
However, Friday afternoon finally brought with it some good news, as redshirt senior defensive tackle Brendon Evers, one of the key pieces of the Cowboys’ interior defensive line, announced on Twitter that he plans to be back in Stillwater in 2022 just weeks after Jernigan hinted as much to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Cowboy nation, these last few years have been some of the best of my life and I want to thank every single person who has had a hand in this journey,” Evers wrote. “But I’m not ready for this journey to end just yet … After much consideration, I feel that there is still some unfinished business left in Stillwater for me. That being said … I will be back for the 2022 season! Go Pokes!”
Evers, a Bixby, Oklahoma native who played last season as a redshirt senior, had a career year for OSU and one of its best defenses in program history. In 12 games he amassed 21 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks, all career-highs.
OSU is set to try and replace several outgoing pieces from its dominant defense including Malcolm Rodriguez, Devin Harper, Jernigan and Antwine, as well as key secondary pieces like Kolby Harvell-Peel, but getting a starter back in Evers to man the interior is big. Even with expected losses up front the defensive line figures to be a potential strength again in 2022 with Collin Oliver, Brock Martin and Trace Ford as key pieces on the edge. Losses of Antwine and Jernigan should open up newfound opportunities on the interior for other players on the roster. It could also spur the staff to dip into the transfer portal to plug holes up front, though 2021 four-star recruit Aden Kelley and former Arkansas transfer Collin Clay, health willing, could be the candidates most likely to step into larger roles.