With one remaining scholarship available for the class of 2019, Oklahoma State is still looking to find some immediate help on the defensive line.
OSU’s top six defensive lineman from 2018 all leaving the program for various reasons, making an immediate impact player a must-need for the Cowboys in 2019.
Despite head coach Mike Gundy’s views on transfers as it is, it’s likely the Cowboys will go shopping in the transfer market to look for help. Let’s look at a few players the coaching staff should zero in on.
Defensive End Jalen Bates
Let’s start with the player I most hope OSU is targeting. The Louisiana native racked up 31 total tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one pass defended in his first season starting for the Sun Devils.
Bates is 6-foot-4, 245 pounds and is eligible immediately as a grad transfer, and he’s going to have a lot of options. But if he’s looking to move closer to home, like some believe, OSU is an option. Plus, with OSU’s strong recruitment of The Boot, there would be plenty of players on the roster who could help convince Bates that Stillwater is the place for him.
Defensive End Chidi Okonya
Okonya is a player I think OSU will at least look into. Not only would the graduate transfer from Duke be immediately eligible, he would already be familiar with OSU defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ scheme, having played in it for two years. He even still follows Knowles on Twitter, though, how often do any of us unfollow people.
Now, all that said, the downside is that Okonya didn’t play much while at Duke and hasn’t recorded a stat since the 2016 season when he had three tackles in two games.
Why he didn’t make much of an impact we don’t know. It could be talent, it could be off the field issues, or it could be he fell out of favor with the coaching staff. But if there is talent there, I trust Knowles to help bring it to Stillwater.
Defensive End Kengera Daniel
The biggest benefit of Daniel is his experience playing, not only at an FBS program, but in the SEC. That said, he doesn’t have a lot to show for it after four years in Lexington with just 13 career tackles and one sack. However, Daniel did redshirt during the 2018 season so he didn’t have many opportunities, and was expected to compete to replace National Defensive Player of the Year Josh Allen at Kentucky’s “Jack” linebacker position.
While the Cowboys never offered Daniel, and there is no direct connection between the two, he does follow OSU defensive line analyst Victor Irokansi on Twitter.
Daniel is a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible for the 2019 season.
Defensive End Darius Slade
Darius Slade is looking for the third team of his college career. After a couple of seasons at Ohio State, Slade left the Buckeyes in 2017 and spent two years in Tempe, the first sitting out after the transfer.
In his one season with the Sun Devils, Slade saw action in 11 games in a back-up role. He had eight tackles including 2.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. He was injured for a stretch in the middle of the season, missing a couple of games, but showed some ability in pass rush when he did play.
Based on his recent Twitter follows, UCF and TCU look to be strongly in the running. That said, he would provide some solid depth at the position for the Cowboys if they could bring him to Stillwater.
Defensive Tackle Zach Abercrumbia
If the Cowboys look to target a defensive tackle, they should turn to Zach Abercrumbia. The graduate transfer from Rice has put up better numbers each of his four years with the Owls, capping his career off with a 55 tackle, 4.5 TFL senior season.
For his career, Abercrumbia totaled 117 tackles, 11.5 TFL, three sacks, and one forced fumble.
Oklahoma State didn’t offer the Dallas, Texas native back in 2015, but there did appear to at least be some interest. Abercrumbia committed to Rice over offers from Stanford, TCU, Louisville, Colorado, Wisconsin, Vanderbilt, and Texas Tech, among others.
At the moment, Abercrumia has visits to Mississippi State and Iowa scheduled and has interest in Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Arizona, California and SMU, among others.
Abercrumbia will be immediately eligible and have one season to left to play.