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Spring Football Preview: Safeties

Next up in our position previews for spring football is the safeties

Jordan Sterns will lead a very experienced Cowboy Safety group in 2015
Jordan Sterns will lead a very experienced Cowboy Safety group in 2015
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

One of the somewhat disappointing units last season for Oklahoma state was the secondary. The Cowboys gave up 269 yards per game, ranking them 111th in the country. Part of the drop off in consistency was due to a fairly inexperienced safety core, with Larry Stephens being the lone senior that was a major contributor. New safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt will look to restructure the depth chart with a group of players eager to bring stability back to the position. New signees Kevin Henry, Kenneth McGruder Za'Carrius Green (who might play star linebacker or safety) and Bryce Balous will join the team in the summer, but the returning players and newcomers will create plenty of competition for spots on the two-deep rotation at each safety position this spring.

Departing Players

Larry Stephens
Career Stats
Tackles Def. Int
SOLO AST TOT LOSS PD INT
53 23 76 3.5 3 1

Stephens came to Oklahoma State in 2010, and was an immediate contributor on special teams. He played in 10 games that year, and recorded 5 tackles and recovered a fumble against Washington State. In 2011, Stephens played in every game and logged 12 tackles including a season high 5 tackles against Kansas. Larry saw his numbers dramatically increase in 2012, as he racked up 16 total tackles including one tackle for a loss against OU. Stephens played in only one game in 2013 before suffering a season-ending injury. He was granted a medical redshirt, and made a strong comeback last season as a starting safety. Stephens finished 11th on the team with 41 tackles (27 total), had 3 pass breakups during the year, and recorded an interception against Baylor. Stephens was the lone senior that was a key fixture in the Safety rotation last season, and there will be several options from returning players to help replace his production.

Elliot Jeffcoat
Career Stats
Tackles Special Teams
SOLO AST TOT Onside Kick Recovery
9 0 9 1

Jeffcoat's story is truly inspirational as a student athlete. In 2011, Elliot decided to walk-on to the Cowboy football team, driving across the country from South Carolina to enroll and join the team. He didn't see the field until his sophomore year in the Lamar game and the Savannah State game and recording 1 tackle. In 2013, Jeffcoat saw action in one game against Lamar, recording one tackle. Last season however, Jeffcoat became a key contributor on special teams, recording 7 tackles in 5 different games. His biggest moment, and one that most OSU fans will remember, was a kickoff recovery on a botched special teams play by Iowa State which helped set up a touchdown before halftime.

DeShawn Franklin
2014 Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
2 1 3

Franklin did not play his sophomore or junior season, and saw action in two games in 2013 against Lamar and Baylor. Last season, Franklin logged statistics in 3 games against Kansas, TCU and Baylor.

Returning Players

FS Jordan Sterns

Junior | 6-1 | 205 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles Def Int
SOLO AST TOT LOSS FF PD
70 46 116 6 2 4

Sterns was an immediate contributor in 2013 as a freshman, playing every game but the season opener. Jordan recorded 13 tackles (9 solo) that year. Last year Sterns was perhaps the best player in the secondary, leading the team in tackles with 103 (61 total) including 6 tackles for a loss. Jordan also added 4 pass breakups during the year. Sterns logged an incredible 20 tackles against West Virginia, and followed that up 13 tackles against OU. There is very little doubt that Jordan Sterns will be the leading candidate to start at free safety next year.

SS Tre Flowers

Sophomore | 6-3 | 190 lbs

2014 Stats
Tackles Def. Int
SOLO AST TOT LOSS PD
44 12 56 2 3

Tre Flowers was a gifted safety in the 2013 recruiting class, holding offers from Kansas State, Mississippi State, BYU, Boise State, Iowa State, and Utah among others. After redshirting his freshman year, Tre was thrown into the mix last season, starting 6 games at strong safety. Flowers finished 6th on the team with 56 tackles, and played in every game but Bedlam. Tre will have some competition for retaining the starting role at strong safety this season, but will be a major contributor regardless.

SS Jerel Marrow

Sophomore | 6-0 | 190 lbs

2014 Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT LOSS SACK
11 2 13 1 1

Marlow was ranked as the #1 prospect out of Kansas by both ESPN and Rivals in 2013, and chose OSU over Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas State, and Kansas among others. Jerel saw some playing time on defense last season, but primarily contributed on special teams. Morrow will get a shot at earning more playing time with a solid spring.

FS Dylan Harding

Sophomore | 6-2 | 195 lbs

2014 Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
1 1 2

Harding was a 3-star safety in the 2014 recruiting class with an impressive 4.35 forty time. Dylan chose Oklahoma State over Arizona State, Oregon State, North Carolina, Texas Tech, and Washington State among others. Harding was asked to contribute last year mostly on special teams, and his most notable play was throwing two massive blocks during Tyreek Hill's yard punt return for a touchdown against OU. Harding will no doubt have a chance to jump up the depth chart at free safety with a solid spring.

FS Deric Robertson

Junior | 6-2 | 205 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
10 2 12

Deric Robertson was a top 100 recruit out of Texas in the 2013 class, choosing OSU over Baylor. Robertson played in 8 games as a freshman in 2013, and finished the season with 4 tackles. Last season, Deric recorded 8 tackles in 3 games. Robertson will have a chance at a fresh start to earn more playing time this spring with new coach Dan Hammerschmidt at the helm.

Newcomers

FS Tre Roberts

RS Freshman | 6-2 | 202 lbs

Roberts was a 3-star recruit in the 2014 class, holding offers from TCU, Utah, and SMU. Roberts was a star on offense in high school, passing for 188 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 234 yards on 41 carries and three rushing touchdowns. Roberts also caught 18 passes for 434 yards and 5 touchdowns. Look for Roberts to get a shot this spring at cracking the two-deep roster at free safety.

SS Matthew Newsome

RS Freshman | 5-11 | 170 lbs

Newsome will look to get his shot at playing time this spring after redshirting last season.