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OSU Football: Nine New Faces To Watch

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With the season just a couple days away, here are nine new faces to watch when the Cowboys kick off against Central Michigan.

Victor Salako – LT – this mountain-sized human (6-6, 330) transferred to Oklahoma State from UAB. The junior has 23 starts under his belt and was immediately given the duty of protecting Mason Rudolph’s blind side. Watch No. 73 this season as the Cowboys look to wipe away the memory of 2014’s abysmal line.

Chris Carson – RB – hit the No. 1 spot on the running back depth chart last week but is still expected to split carries with Rennie Childs. Don’t expect Carson to be a flashy, side-to-side runner; he’s more the powerful, downhill type. From a size-standpoint he’ll be recognizable as he’s at least four inches taller than the other two running backs on OSU’s depth chart.

Jeff Carr – RB – speaking of other running backs on the depth chart, the diminutive (5-7, 168) freshman burst onto the scene during fall camp. “He’s a guy that two or three years from now teams are going to wonder why they didn’t recruit him,” Mike Gundy prophesied about Carr on signing day in February. Still, nobody thought the three-star recruit would play immediately but he’s slated to return kicks and get the third-team running back snaps behind Carson and Childs.

Jalen McCleskey – WR – another true freshman that most thought would redshirt, especially given the depth at receiver, McClesky will step in to return punts and run with the second-unit of receivers. He reportedly runs a 4.37 40-yard dash and has great hands, yet he’s another three-star, under-the-radar recruit. Why? Gundy thinks McCleskey, like Carr, was overlooked because of his size. McCleskey is listed at 5-foot-10 and just 156 pounds.

Mote Maile – DT – steps right in to a starting role due to Vili Leveni’s injury. He’s got some big shoes to fill with the Cowboys’ graduating 2014 starters James Castleman and Ofa Hautau. Maile and Vincent Taylor will try to plug the middle of the D-Line this year. Also, you’ve got to love defensive tackles who wear a number outside the 90s. Maile wears No. 56.

Jordan Burton – LB – like, Maile, comes straight from Juco to a starting spot at Oklahoma State. Burton will take over for Josh Furman at the Star linebacker position, bringing speed and athleticism on the outside. He’s a candidate to be one of the top tacklers on the defense with safety Jordan Sterns and linebackers Ryan Simmons and Seth Jacobs.

Michael Hunter – CB – enters as a graduate transfer from Indiana. Like Furman and Tyler Patmon before him, this will be Hunter’s lone season in a Cowboy uniform.  While senior Kevin Peterson and junior Ashton Lampkin start guarding the edges, expect to see plenty of Hunter and sophomore Ramon Richards as well.

Jordan Brailford – DE – a four-star defensive end from Tulsa’s Booker T. Washington high school redshirted last year but was impressive in the spring and during fall camp. Brailford is one of the fastest defensive ends on the roster and he’ll get some reps spelling starters Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean. Defensive end has been a recruiting strength for the Cowboys in the past two classes so it’s no small thing that Brailford is listed ahead of Jarell Owens, Trey Carter, Cole Walterscheid and Louis Brown.

Kenneth Edison-McGruder – S – is a rare true freshman defensive back who is ready for big-time college football. He wasn’t OSU’s highest-rated DB recruit - that was Kevin Henry - but Edison-McGruder was one of the first freshman to be singled out by Gundy and safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt. Some expect McGruder to work his way up the depth chart this season. Right now he’s behind sophomore Dylan Harding for the primary backup spot at free safety.

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