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Five Newcomers To Watch For OSU

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Here is a list of five players who could have a major impact on the Cowboys' success in their first season on the field in Stillwater.

Quarterback - Wes Lunt (6'4, 211, Fr.)

Well this one is a no-brainer. The Oklahoma State coaching staff was tasked this offseason with replacing NFL first-round pick Brandon Weeden at quarterback; Lunt won that competition before his senior prom at Rochester High School in Illinois. Lunt has received rave reviews and has drawn early comparisons to Weeden despite being 10 years his junior because of his maturity, strong arm and decision making. The Cowboys are the defending Big 12 champions and are handing over the reins to an 18-year-old who will try to keep the Cowboys competing at the top of the league. Safe to say Lunt will be watched closely this season. The pressure on him will be extreme but all signs out of Stillwater are that he is more than capable of handling it.

Defensive Tackle - Calvin Barnett (6'2, 299, Jr.)

One of the easy areas to point to as a weakness for the Cowboys the past several seasons has been the interior of the defensive line. The Cowboys have lacked depth, playmaking and have been forced on numerous occasions to fill the void by using undersized players better suited for other positions. Barnett could change all that in his first season in Stillwater after transferring from Navarro J.C. in Texas. Barnett had a long road to Stillwater, starting with his shocking signing-day switch to Arkansas from the Pokes two years ago. After two years in JUCO, Barnett is poised to be an immediate impact player in Stillwater and his presence allowed former defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas to move to a more natural spot at d-end, effectively upgrading two positions with one move. Barnett is extremely athletic and explosive for his size, so much so that he has the potential to impact opponent's game plans this fall.

Wide Receiver - C.J. Curry (6'2, 185, Fr.)

Justin Blackmon left for the NFL and took two Biletnikoff Awards and 232 catches, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns over the past two years with him. Now OSU's coaches have said they are going to rely on a receivers-by-committee approach, which became even more difficult with the dismissal of heir apparent Mike Harrison in the offseason. The Pokes have a bevy of incoming freshmen at the position and some will be immediately thrust into the action. From all the indications in fall camp, Curry is the most physically and mentally prepared for the assignment. Curry is an imposing possession receiver with deceptive speed and great leaping ability who comes in the mold of a Blackmon or Dez Bryant and should see his first collegiate action Week One. If that goes well, he has the ability to claim a more prominent role in the offense very early in his career.

Wide Receiver - Blake Jackson (6'3, 235, Jr.)

Jackson made major ripples when he committed to Oklahoma State in the spring. Jackson was listed as a four-star recruit at tight end and picked the Pokes over offers from Arkansas, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Tennessee and many more. He was seen as an immediate help in recovering in "life after Blackmon." The Arizona native has had a more quiet fall than most expected but he has locked down a starting role as one of the Cowboys' inside receivers, and with his size, speed, athleticism and knack for scoring touchdowns (16 last season in junior college), he could become a reliable safety net for Lunt. He has a gift for finding open space and making the most with it. His 16 TDs ranked third nationally in JUCO, while his 62 receptions ranked sixth his 934 receiving yards ranked seventh … and he played tight end.

Strong Safety - Shamiel Gary (6'0, 210, Jr.)

Gary was not highly regarded as a high school prospect out of Tulsa Washington, getting virtually no attention from the state schools. His lone scholarship offers were from Wyoming, Air Force and Colorado State. He chose the Wyoming Cowboys and was a huge success, earning freshman All-America honors in his first year. He tied a Wyoming school record with three interceptions in one game … and he did it in his first game as a freshman. As a sophomore he had 94 tackles and an interception, highlighted by a 17-tackle performance against Boise State. He then decided to transfer home and play for the other Cowboys. After sitting out last season, he has earned a co-starter role with Lavocheya Cooper at strong safety. He has great size for the position and good speed and, whether it's Gary or Cooper who earns the primary gig, the depth at the position will be outstanding.

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