Several Cowboys Sophomores Could Be Redshirting in 2015


Last season, Oklahoma State fielded the youngest team in all of college football.

Injuries, lack of depth, and more injuries resulted in Cowboys coach Mike Gundy fielding several players that, under normal circumstances, would have probably remained on the sidelines — such as quarterback Mason Rudolph. In total, 10 true freshman saw playing time.

Oklahoma State’s 2014 troubles have created a unique situation heading into 2015, with 10 true sophomores returning with game experience. It’s safe to say that Rudolph will be back on the field this upcoming season, but what about the other nine players?

“Those discussions are taking place,” Gundy told the media on Saturday. “Until we get up into that last week (of practices), we won’t plan on that. But if we get to the last week, and we have a young man who we used his freshman year, and he’s behind a couple of veteran guys, and his numbers could be limited, then we wouldn’t burn him on special teams and use him at a point in the game where he may be able to get that year back; which would help him from a maturity standpoint and would help us.”

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For most players that redshirt, position depth and body development are most often the biggest contributing factors in the decision. Having a full season to work with strength and conditioning coaches while better learning their respective positions and systems often pays big dividends the following season, especially for lineman.

“(The player) loses that extra time in the weight room because during the season he’s getting ready to play in a game. His physical workload is limited based on getting ready to play on Saturday, and there’s a point where that can almost become a necessity for a college football player to get that extra workload during their time. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it’s beneficial,” Gundy said. “[Redshirting as a sophomore] would help him, from a maturity standpoint, and help us.”

So who exactly are the candidates to sit out for 2015? You can obviously cross Rudolph off that list, as well as former walk-on Brad Lundblade, the Cowboys’ surprisingly good center whose solid debut against Baylor was overshadowed by Rudolph’s. Wide receiver James Washington caught a pass in all but two games for the Pokes during his 2014 freshman campaign, finishing with 28 receptions and six touchdowns. Ramon Richards, forced into action at cornerback due to the loss of Ashton Lampkin, was burned on several occasions down the field, but was still able to hold his own most of the time, finishing with 42 tackles and three interceptions. Justin Phillips provided much needed depth at the linebacker position, and had 10 tackles against Oklahoma.

These players have a decent chance of sitting out in 2015:

Chris Lacy – WR – The Cowboys are loaded at wide receiver. Lacy only caught four passes in 2014, and failed to record a catch over the last six games of the season.

Gyasi Akem, Kirk Tucker – LB – Askem tallied nine tackles last season, and was non-existent in the last five games. Tucker played sporadically on special teams, and contributed 15 tackles. The Cowboys have several linebackers returning who missed 2014 for various reasons, and relied heavily on the three starters last season anyway.

Dylan Harding – S – Recorded one tackle in 2014.

Chris Hardeman – CB – Finished with six tackles last season while filling in for Richards at times.

As Gundy stated, it’s hard to make a final decision until the end of camp, as some players could very well bolster their prospects during practice, combined with lack of production from some older players. Still, while Gundy and his staff view redshirting as a positive, he concedes that the ultimate decision comes down to the player’s wishes.

“It’s us being honest with them,” Gundy said. “If a player just says, ‘Hey I want to play’ we’re going to play them, because ultimately, it’s their career.”

Next: Who will be the Cowboys third-string QB in 2015?