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Spring Football Preview: Defensive Line

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Continuing our spring football preview with the defensive line

Ogbah and Bean will lead the defensive line in 2015
Ogbah and Bean will lead the defensive line in 2015
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Cowboys experienced a roller-coaster season in 2014, the Defensive Line proved to be a stabilizing for force for the defense. OSU will be replacing valuable leadership on the line, as the unit will look quite a bit different heading into the spring. Signees Louis Brown, Darrion Daniels, and Taaj Bakari will join the team this summer, but there will still be plenty of competition between returning players as well as a few newcomers this spring.

Departing Players

DT James Castlemen
Career Stats
Tackles Interceptions
SOLO AST TOT SACK FF PASS DEF INT
76 39 115 4.5 1 7 1

Castleman was a contributor on the defensive line from day one, playing all 11 games as a freshman during the Cowboys' 2011 Big 12 Championship run. As a Sophomore, James started every game but one due to injury, and finished sixth on the team with 6.5 tackles for a loss. Castleman continued to develop as a key contributor in 2013, and his year was highlighted by a fumble recovery against Baylor that helped spawn a massive upset.  Last season, James capped off another fantastic year with a memorable Cactus Bowl, which included a surprise appearance on offense. Castleman scored on a rushing touchdown in the first quarter, and caught a pass and rumbled down the field 48 yards when the Cowboys needed a play to put the game away. His leadership last season in a defensive unit filled with mostly underclassman was extremely valuable and will be missed.

DT Ofa Hautau
Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT SACK
24 14 38 2.5

Hautau came to Oklahoma State from Snow College in Utah in 2013, and quickly became a fixture in the two-deep roster. He finished his first season with 8 tackles (2 for a loss) and a sack. In 2014, Ofa's numbers increase dramatically, as he started every game but one, and finished his senior campaign with 30 tackles (12th overall on the team) and 1.5 sacks. Like Castleman, the Cowboys will miss the leadership and experience Hautau brought to the defensive line.

DE Sam Wren
Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT SACK FF
25 22 47 2.5 1

Sam Wren was another junior college transfer, and chose OSU over Arkansas, Texas Tech, Arizona State, and Oregon State. Wren played every game his junior year, finishing with 22 tackles and was credited with a half sack. In 2014, Sam ranked 13th on the team with 25 tackes (6 for a loss) and two sacks. Wren was a volatile piece in the 2014 defense that the Pokes will look to replace this spring.

Returning Players

DE Emmanuel Ogbah

Junior | 6-4 | 270 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles Interceptions
SOLO AST TOT SACK FF PASS DEF INT
51 18 69 15 1 5 1

Ogbah has been a force off the edge the last two seasons. After redshirting his freshman year, Emmanuel played in every game during the 2013 season, tallying 20 total tackles (15 solo) tying for the team lead with 4 sacks. In 2014, Ogbah put together perhaps the best season of any defensive player in the Big 12, finishing the year with 49 tackles (35 total), and tied for 11th in the country with 11 sacks. His outstanding sophomore performance earned him first team All-Big 12 honors by both the coaches and the media, and was also voted Defensive Lineman of the Year. Ogbah elected not to enter the NFL draft in January, and instead will help anchor what should be one of the leagues better defenses next year.

DE Jimmy Bean

Senior | 6-5 | 250 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles Interceptions
SOLO AST TOT SACK FF PASS DEF INT
52 26 78 8.5 3 1 0

Bean appeared in only 3 games his freshman year, and was redshirted as a sophomore due to an injury he suffered before the season started. In 2013, Jimmy started every game at defensive end, finishing the year with 34 tackles and 5 sacks capped off by a big time performance in the Cotton Bowl with 7 tackles (3 for a loss) and a sack. Bean carried that success in to 2014, racking up 42 tackles (29 solo) and 3.5 sacks highlighted by an 8 tackle and 2 sack performance against Texas Tech. With Bean and Ogbah both back next year, the Cowboys will have one of the best starting units in the league at defensive end.

DE Trace Clark

Senior| 6-4 | 255 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
20 12 32

Clark has been a contributor to the defense every year he has been at OSU. As a freshman, Clark played in seven games and finished with 5 tackles (4 solo). Trace worked his way up to the backup roll at defensive end his sophomore year, playing in every game and racking up 10 tackles (4 solo) and one pass break-up. Last season, Clark finished 15th on the team with 17 total tackles (11 solo) and 2 tackles for a loss. Expect Clark to once again play a major role as a backup to Ogbah and Bean.

DT Vili Leveni

Sophomore| 6-3 | 270 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT SACK
7 9 16 1

After redshirting in 2013, Leveni was a big part of the defensive end rotation last season finishing 16th on the team with 16 tackles. Villi had a solid performance against West Virginia with 3 tackles and a sack, and was a surprise contributor in Bedlam with a season high 4 tackles. It is expected that Vili will make make a transition to defensive tackle due to the lack of depth at the position, and he will most likely be a starter in 2015.

DT Vincent Taylor

Sophomore| 6-3 | 290 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
8 5 13

Taylor was another redshirt two years ago, and had an impact in his first season last year. Vincent finished tied for 18th on the team with 13 tackles, including 3 tackles and a sack against West Virginia. Taylor is another guy the coaches will be looking to step up in the spring and become a fixture in the lineup.

DT Eric Davis

Junior| 6-3 | 290 lbs

Career Stats
Tackles
SOLO AST TOT
2 1 3

Davis was a highly rated prospect out of high school, originally committed to Texas A&M. Eric appeared in 4 games his redshirt freshman season, and appeared in only one game last season. This spring will be a great chance for Davis to work his way into the playing rotation.

Newcomers

DT Motekiai Maile

Junior| 6-4 | 305 lbs

JC Stats
Tackles
TOT SACK TFL FF
84 7.5 15.5 1

Maile was a huge get for Oklahoma State in the 2014 recruiting class considering the Cowboys are losing two starters in the middle of the line. Motekiai, ranked as the #33 JC Prospect by Scout, held offers from TCU, Mississippi State, Arizona State, North Texas and SMU. He was a first team selection to the All-Southwest Junior College Football Team last year after finishing with 54 tackles (10 for a loss) and 3 sacks his sophomore year. There is no doubt that Maile will be in the mix for the starting role next year at defensive tackle.

DE Jordan Brailford

RS Freshman | 6-3 | 225 lbs

Jr. and Sr. Year HS Stats
Tackles
TOT SACK FF FR
203 20 2 1

Brailford was highly touted out of high school, holding offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas State, and Washington State among others. Jordan's play his senior year earned him first team All-State honors by both the Tulsa World and Daily Oklahoman, and he also played in the Semper Fidelis All-Star game. Brailford was asked to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme which allowed him to roam in pass coverage and rush the passer often. Expect Jordan to be in the mix to earn a spot in the rotation this spring.

DE Trey Carter

RS Freshman | 6-4 | 250 lbs

Jr. and Sr. Year HS Stats
Tackles
TOT SACK TFL
134 20 30

Trey Carter was another 4-star prospect out of high school, choosing OSU over OU, TCU, Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona State, Miami, Mississippi State, and Tennessee among others. Carter saw his senior season cut short due to an ankle injury, but not before he racked up 89 tackles (30 for a loss) and 15 sacks. Trey will be another player fighting for playing time next season.

DE Cole Walterscheid

RS Freshman | 6-6 | 210 lbs

Jr. and Sr. Year HS Stats
Tackles Def. Int.
TOT SACK FF FR INT
111 17 4 3 2

Cole is another redshirt player from the 2014 class, and held offers from Boise State, North Texas, SMU, UTEP, and UTSA. Walterscheid was a multiple-sport athlete in high school, and also excelled as a receiver with 40 receptions for 976 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior year. With his athleticism and versatility, expect Cole to be a contributor on special teams and possibly see the field some at defensive end.

DE Jarrell Owens

RS Freshman | 6-3 | 240 lbs

Sr. Year HS Stats
Tackles
TOT TFL FF
23 6 2

Owens was another gifted recruit in the 2014 class that should benefit from his redshirt last season. Playing primarily running back his senior year, Jarrell rushed for 678 yards on 81 carries and 6 touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 232 yards and another 2 touchdowns. Owens was originally a TCU commit before switching to OSU late, and held offers from Texas Tech, Louisiana Monroe, and Texas State. Owens looks to be a prime candidate to contribute on special teams, and could play his way into the defensive end rotation with a strong spring.

DT Ben Hughes

Sophomore | 6-3 | 310 lbs

Jr. Year HS Stats
Tackles
TOT SACK TFL
87 6 17

Hughes redshirted his freshman year, and didn't see action last season due to injury. A highly touted recruit in the 2013 class, Ben was a 4-Star prospect according to ESPN and held offers from Kansas State and Mississippi State among others. With the departures of Castleman and Hautau, expect Hughes to have a great shot at earning significant playing time next season.