While the Oklahoma State Cowboys return a lot of players heading into the 2015 season, they are set to receive contributions from many new faces. Whether it be freshman, graduate transfers or former JUCO players, the Cowboys feature many newcomers in positions of importance. In today's piece, we will break down four of the new Cowboy players who have the potential to make the biggest impact.
A Junior College transfer, running back Chris Carson comes to Oklahoma State by way of Butler Community College. Rated this year's No. 23 JUCO recruit in the country, Carson flipped his commitment from the University of Georgia to OSU in early February. Carson ran for an impressive 7.2 yards per carry last season, which was 5th in the NJCAA; his best game was his 183 yard, 2 touchdown performance in November against Ellsworth Community College.
Head coach Mike Gundy described Carson as a "slasher" and likened him to a rich man's Keith Toston. Carson might have a playing style similar to Toston, but one could argue that he is bigger, faster and stronger than the former Cowboy running back. We'll have to take Gundy's word for Carson's speed, but Carson definitely appears bigger and faster, holding a 200 pound, 6'2" frame and biceps that could crush a small animal.
Earning the title of preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, Carson definitely has the potential to make the most impact as a new Cowboy this year.
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Coming out of West Monroe High School in Louisiana, cornerback Micheal Hunter played every game as a freshman for the Indiana Hoosiers. After redshirting his sophomore year, Hunter was promoted to a full-time starter; in the past two years at Indiana, he has racked up 91 tackles, 2 interceptions and 14 pass breakups. Hunter comes to Oklahoma State looking to add depth to an already stout secondary, priding himself on his size and physicality.
With Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin securing the starting corner spots, Hunter will not start, but will rather contribute by both rotating in and playing in certain sub packages. Even as a second-stringer, the B-team tandem of Hunter and sophomore Ramone Richards won't let opposing offenses off easy, even with Peterson and Lampkin off the field.
Coincidentally, Hunter shows an aggressive style similar to that of former transfer Tyler Patmon; if all things go well, don't be surprised if you see Hunter follow in Patmon's footsteps. Look for Hunter to contribute early and often at the third corner spot.
Standing at 5-foot-7, true freshman Jeff Carr is described by some as the best pound-for-pound running back coming out of Texas. The former Temple Wildcat combined for more than 3,700 rushing yards his junior and senior year; Carr also racked up a total of 32 touchdowns, three of which were receiving. Carr has been successful in track as well, using his 4.40 speed to routinely place 1st in Texas relay events.
Considering that he's third on the depth chart for running backs, Carr will get most of his production as more of a specialist. Earlier this week, Mike Gundy said that the coaching staff will give Carr his own package of plays to learn, giving him a chance to make an early impact as a freshman. On top of that, Carr is in the running to contribute on special teams as either a kick or punt returner.
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Safety hybrid Jordan Burton comes to Oklahoma State from Kilgore College in Texas. The 6'3", 215 lb junior committed to the Cowboys as the No. 10 JUCO safety by ESPN. Not only did he lead his team in tackles last year, but his 10.8 TPG ranked 8th overall in the NJCAA. Burton recorded at least 15 tackles on two occasions in 2014, and recorded a career best 20 tackles in the season before.
Not only does he feature a linebacker's strength, but Burton features a respectable 4.50 40 speed, making him perfect for the Cowboys' 'star' linebacker position. Last year, the star position was occupied by former transfer and current Denver Bronco Josh Furman. Similar to the connection between Hunter and Patmon, Burton resembles Furman in many ways. Both of them have similar speed and size, and both of them aren't afraid to hit. Considered the starting 'star' LB, expect Burton to make an immediate impact.
Along with the four on this list, new players like Chat Whitener, Darrion Daniels and Victor Salako are currently on the roster, all capable of making their own impact. So what do you think? Which newcomer will have the biggest impact for the Cowboys this season?
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