Oklahoma State's most important players in 2013
Oklahoma State reports on Thursday for the first day of practice.
Today, we're looking at the five most-important players on the 2013 team.
5. Calvin Barnett, defensive tackle
Barnett was a Big 12 first-team selection a season ago and is on the list for the Outland Trophy and the Bednarik Award for this year. He could easily be an All-American, and having a run-stopper in the middle is even more important as Big 12 teams are known for putting up huge numbers.
Barnett and the rest of the defense will have to improve after a season where it gave up more than 420 yards per game. New defensive coordinator Glen Spencer will certainly have some ideas, but the most-important thing for the Cowboy defense starts up front with Barnett.
4. Ben Grogan, punter/kicker
Who's Grogan? Good question. People don't know him at this point, because he's set to be the next kicker and punter at OSU. Quinn Sharp did so much and did it so well the past few years, fans have gotten used to the "sure thing." That won't be the case with Grogan, and it's a tough task to step in and follow Sharp. It's a lot to ask.
3. Jeremy Smith, running back
Joseph Randle bolted to the NFL leaving the Cowboys with Smith. He played in all 13 games a season ago, but had just 70 attempts all year, due to injuries. He'll certainly get a lot more attention in 2013. Smith is a guy who has a knack for scoring, going for a touchdown in 10-consecutive games, and he's a guy, when healthy, can contribute. Smith has three, 100-yard games.
However, Smith hasn't been fully healthy throughout his career. Count on Desmond Roland contributing as well as OSU mixing in others, including a pair of freshman.
2. Tracy Moore, wide receiver
Moore is back for his fifth season with the Cowboys after missing most of last season with an injury. Moore played just four games. He is 15th all-time in receiving yards at OSU and has 93 career catches and 12 career touchdowns.
The question is whether Moore can be as dominant as Justin Blackmon and Rashaun Woods – two of the best in OSU history. And the question will be how quickly he gets comfortable with a quarterback like Clint Chelf, who is likely to be a scrambling, unconventional thrower.
Either way, Moore will be the go-to receiver for the Cowboys and the No. 1 down-field threat.
1. Clint Chelf, quarterback
Quite a journey for the one-time, third-string quarterback. Gone is Wes Lunt, who transferred to Illinois during the offseason and now it's up to Chelf, despite the fact OSU hasn't named a starter.
It will be Chelf. He's a scrambler and a decent runner, but count on J.W. Walsh getting some time at quarterback, too, in certain situations.
As for Chelf, we'll see how the pressure affects him now as the starter, instead of a guy who is just filling in. He had great games a season ago, but struggled in others. Overall, he started five games and played in eight, throwing 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Chelf also has to deal with a new offensive coordinator, so there could be some adjustments necessary.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK