Stop me if you’ve heard this before: OSU is dealing with a ton of turnover in this next position group…
One of the unfortunate drawbacks to this new era of college sports is a ton of turnover in the old depth chart. And no position group in Stillwater was hit harder by the portal than the Cowboys’ wide receivers.
Almost everyone. The Cowboys lost four of their top five receivers from last season with a slew of producers and promising up-and-comers exiting stage left. OSU lost John Paul Richardson, Bryson Green, Stephon Johnson Jr, Brennan Presley, and Langston Anderson to the portal and lost Braydon Johnson to exhaust eligibility.
Thank goodness for Brennan Presley. The Cowboys’ leading receiver is back for his senior season and he’s the only Poke returning that logged more than 86 yards all of last season. He led OSU with 67 catches for 813 yards and two TD catches. You can bet he’ll be a heavy target in the slot, especially as the Cowboys look to break in a new starting QB.
While Presley is by far the most productive of returning pass-catchers, there are some promising up-and-comers returning in touted freshman Talyn Shettron who showed glimpses of his star ability late and sophomore Jaden Bray who has turned heads in his two seasons. Blaine Green is back at WR after missing all of 2022 with injury and spending time in the now-disbanded Cowboy Back room. Rashod Owens is also back for his junior season. All four have potential and all four will get a chance to build upon it.
Who’s Entering the Mix
The portal taketh away, but it gives back a little too.
The Cowboys added a trio of productive, experienced wideouts in Arland Bruce (from Iowa), De’Zhaun Stibling from Washington State and Leon Johnson III (DIII school George Fox). Bruce comes in to help a slot position that was gutted this offseason, behind Brenna Presley. Stribling is a 6-3 outside threat that racked up over a thousand yards and 10 TDs over the last two seasons in the Pac-12.
And Johnson might be the most intriguing diamond-in-the-rough candidate in some time. At 6-foot-5 and 207 pounds he represents a massive target area and he is a proven producer, albeit at the DIII level. Last year, Johnson less George Fox with 1,156 yards and 14 scores on his way to being named a DIII All-American and conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Spring Depth Chart Prediction
Here’s at least a semi-educated guess as to what the Cowboys’ receiver depth chart could look like come fall.
WR1: Jaden Bray, Brennan Presley, Arland Bruce IV, Talyn Shettron
WR2: Blaine Green, Rashod Owens, De’Zhaun Stribling, Leon Johnson III
The caveat to the above list is that it’s still very early in the spring and that the Pokes are dealing with the most turnover at the position in recent memory.
The good news for OSU is that, despite all that the Cowboys lost to the portal this offseason, there is a good mix of talent and experience. They just need to stay healthy and figure out what they have.