Continuing the process of semi-analyzing the depth at every position, introducing you to the men playing those positions, and revealing how difficult it is to write something about someone you have never seen play.
Check out every Position-Alysis
Markelle Martin | SS | 6-1 | 190 | Wichita Falls, TX
As the leading tackler and only returning starter in the secondary, junior Markelle Martin will immediately be looked at as a leader on D. Martin spent the majority of his early career as a special teams player but started 11 games last year as a Sophomore. The thing I like most about him is he seemed to get better as the season progressed. He had his best game last year in the Cotton Bowl (sampled above) with 9 tackles and a pass breakup. He has the size to play either safety spot and could be used at corner if needed.
Johnny Thomas | FS | 5-11 | 200 | Texas City, TX
Thomas didn't start last year, but he played in every game except Rice and finished with 25 tackles (19 solo). He will be a key component of the Cowboy defense over the next 2 years and with his 4.46 40 time, he could be a big part of the return game. He'll likely see a lot of balls come his way due to the fact that teams won't want to test Martin. Thomas seems fit for the challenge.
Brodrick Brown | CB | 5-8 | 190 | Houston, TX
Of all the areas of this Cowboy team, cornerback may be the youngest. Replacing someone like Perrish Cox won't be easy, but Brodrick Brown has the talent to do it. He was very impressive in his last outing replacing the suspended Cox in the Cotton Bowl. As a member of the track team, he has the speed to be a burner at corner. We here at CRFF expect big things.
Andrae May | CB | 5-11 | 180 | Houston, TX
May was supposed to redshirt last season, but the coaches were so f'ing impressed with his athletic ability that he earned playing time down the stretch. He finished with only 2 tackles, but that playing time will pay dividends this year. He'll be pushed pretty hard over the next couple of weeks by Andrew McGee, and a couple of true freshman - but his speed and athleticism should give him an early edge.
Andrew McGee | CB | 6-0 | 191 | Copiah-Lincoln CC
McGee is a very talented defensive back. He had 4 solo tackles in his debut against Georgia last season and played very well the rest of the way. He's returning from a broken neck (yes, he is a badass) suffered during Bedlam last year, but looks to be fully recovered. I expect him to get a good amount of playing time in the opener, and throughout the season.
Justin Gilbert | ATH | 6-1 | 180 | Huntsville, TX
Gilbert was one of the top signees in the class of 2010, and picked OSU over Oklahoma, Nebraska, TCU and others. Word on the street is that he's the best athlete on the team and is a fine replacement for Perrish Cox in the return game. He could see time on offense too. Bottom-line, he's too talented to leave on the bench
Watch out for...
The new class to make an impact. Players like Zack Craig and Devin Hedgepeth are practicing like they are hungry for playing time. That's a good sign for a group that is somewhat thin.
Just this week, Craig was regarded as "the most impressive freshman, regardless of position." \He has good size at 6-3, so he could see time at safety - which seems to be a natural fit, or move to corner if needed.
Hedgepeth was a WR in High School, but he's practiced well and should see some time early as Brown's backup at corner. He's a burner, so his speed and athleticism will be needed for depth. I expect him to see playing time early. The sooner the better. This guy will be the man in 2 years. Mark it.
Gundy says this is the fastest team he's ever had and the secondary is no exception.
There are a lot of "track stars" in this group so keeping up with the leagues elite WR's shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure they will be tested early but really, what are the likes of Washington State and Tulsa gonna do?? Yes, I'm talking to YOU 80 year old TU fan!
Really though, I think it's safe to say this is as athletic as OSU has been in the secondary in a long time, if ever. It's a classic case of Athleticism vs. Experience* and it will be fun as shit to watch.
* Future article to be written