While you may not believe it by the name, Joe Bob Clements is one of the smartest men in college football. It seems that way anyway. He is responsible for one of the longest stretches of sustained success for OSU’s defensive line they’ve ever had. He recruits three-stars, maybe the occasional four, and turns them into stars. He’s had a defensive lineman taken in the last two drafts. One of those being Emmanuel Ogbah at 33rd overall.
He lost a projected starting weak side edge rusher last year and still managed 32 sacks. He’s managed to do as much with as little as anyone else. This year shouldn’t be any different as he has at least five starting caliber ends. Their best pass rusher won’t even start. The amount of options this gives Clements is innumerable. Expect a huge season out of his maturing core, even after losing their star tackle. Defensive end is one of the strengths of the team.
Cole Walterscheid (RS-JR.)
This guy is my personal hero for reasons my boss says I can’t disclose, but either way, he’s a character. An unlikely starter, Walterscheid stepped into the starting role last year seamlessly after Jordan Brailford was injured. Last year he had 25 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. This year he seems poised to breakout after last years valuable game experience.
At 6’5 260, he fills the run defense position. He still manages to put pressure on the quarterback from the strong side however. Walterscheid is a very solid starter who only looks to be getting better as he adds more weight.
He does however have some possible character concerns, some warranted, some not. Last year he was arrested for public intox after police found him asleep on top of a Jimmy John’s car-topper he might or might not have stolen in a parking lot. Now you can act concerned about that or you can realize it’s absolutely hilarious. The main issue with it however, is it was during the football season. Him not being able to keep his partying to a minimum during the season is worrisome. More worrisome is his penchant for partying so hard he gets arrested. Now this is Stillwater, Oklahoma where they give out public intox charges like Oprah, but still. Not a deal-breaker and not necessarily something to be worried about, but something to keep an eye on nonetheless.
Despite the eligibility of a sophomore, Brailford actually has the tenure of a senior. First taking a redshirt in 2014, playing as a freshmen in 2015, then granted a medical redshirt in 2016 due to injury. Brailford was the all but announced weak-side end coming into 2016 before a foot injury derailed his hopes. Now with another full year to develop his body he’s ready to come out with a vengeance. Another underrated symptom of missing all of last year, he has almost no wear and tear. He is the epitome of fresh and should be antsy to make a name for himself with THREE years of eligibility left.
Branford played in 10 games his redshirt-freshmen year including one start. Maybe the only reason that he didn’t start being that he was playing behind the Big-12 defensive lineman of the year. Now with nothing left to stop him and a full tank of gas, Brailford should be a nice surprise coming off the edge.
Tralund Webber (SR.)
A JUCO product, Webber looks to be the best pure pass rushing prospect on the team. Without even starting Webber recorded six sack last year, 2nd to only draft pick Vincent Taylor. Standing 6’5 and 250 lb’s he posses near ideal size for a pass rusher. His slight weakness in defending the run however should keep him coming off the bench. In this scenario, that seems ideal. Imagine bring a near-elite pure pass rusher in for passing downs. Then imagine he’s also one of the freshest players on the field. Webber should be a terror on the blind side next year. Look for him to lead the team in sacks.
Jerrell Owens (R-JR.)
A full-time starter last season, Owens is likely the fourth best end in the bunch. Despite this he is a very useful player who should serve Clements well. Owens has an ability to hold up against the run and the strength to collapse a pocket. With 2.5 sacks last year he should build on that even with less reps. When your team relies on you to play both ends and stay on the field almost every snap it’s draining.
This year he will be coming off the bench and his only objective? Wreaking havoc. He does something that doesn’t generally show up in box scores, he assists his teammates. He’ll force a double team and give a teammate a better run at the QB. Owens will overrun an edge and force the QB to bail from the pocket. He’s a very solid player and the Pokes are very lucky to have him off the bench.