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Dean's List: OU's Brown, OSU's Burton Could Be Sleepers

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IMPACT PLAYERS YOU DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT

If OU and OSU win a lot of games in 2015 there’ll be players who will break out from relative obscurity to household names. After talking with coaches and players I’ve come up with one for each school

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OU’S ORLANDO BROWN ALL GROWN UP

In our annual extended preseason interview with Bob Stoops this afternoon, I asked the head coach to name one offensive player he expects to blossom into a household name. He praised WR DeDe Westbrook but singled out redshirt freshman offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Stoops said the Duluth, GA native, son of the late NFL star Orlando Brown, Sr. has emerged as a force who will play extensively – perhaps start.

HERE’S THE BEEF

Stoops said Brown is mammoth, reminding coaches of Phil Loadholt, the former Sooners All-American and current injured Minnesota Viking mainstay. He was speaking more of size than actual ability, but was uncommonly complimentary about how good he expects Brown to become. 6-8, 355 pounds, athletic ability, feet, extension, and now grasping his role in the Air Raid offense.

The Sooners lost two 1st-team all-conference tackles who are expected to play on Sundays for many a year (Tyrus Thompson, 6th round, Minnesota and Daryl Williams, 4th round, Carolina). Brown is competing with a pair of fifth-year seniors who have waited their time behind top tier tackles. But neither Canadian Josiah St. John nor South Dakotan Derek Farniok is expected to be dominant, putting Brown in the rotation immediately and with a strong chance to become a starter in short order. OU has outstanding skill position players. But an unproven offensive line must quickly prove that it can do its part to give the potential game breakers a chance to make plays. They should be fine at center, good at guard – especially with a healthy stud in Nila Kasitati, but not a given at tackle.

OFFERS MORE IMPORTANT THAN STARS

Brown looks to be another example of why I always have said that you should put more stock in who is offering players over how many stars they have attached to their names. Brown was only a three-star recruit by all services. But he was offered by Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Ohio State, and others.

COWBOYS HAVE BUDDING STAR IN TRANSFER BURTON

Jordan Burton should become a name Cowboy fans will hear a lot from this fall. Burton is a junior linebacker who came in with the 2015 class. The more I talk with people and hear from insiders I respect, the former Kilgore (Texas) safety could make a run at league newcomer of the year.

BURTON A STAR ONE WAY OR ANOTHER

Mike Gundy and DC Glen Spencer will play the intense, physical and athletic Burton at the ‘star’ LB position. It puts Burton in a place to make plays and rounds out what should be a position group that winds up being the strongest on an improved OSU defense.

Burton is a 6-3, 215 pound early enrollee who finished eighth in the NJCAA in total tackles last season with 108. Attentive and inquisitive, his skills fit the position where Spencer looks to find a player who can cover against drop-back and play a rugged run-stuffer against the run.

Burton’s coverage ability is enhanced with a history of playing safety. He plays with a relentlessness found in special players – particularly LBs. He’s only been on campus for seven months but earned the respect of teammates early on.

OFFERS IRRLEVANT THIS TIME AROUND

Unlike Brown, who was heavily recruited, OSU only had to beat out Memphis, Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech for Burton’s services.

So there you have it. Get ready to see a backer from Kilgore and a big-ugly from Georgia emerge in Stillwater and Norman.  If they don’t, blame it on Eschbach.

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