STILLWATER — Mike Gundy thinks it’s a bit unfair to compare Oklahoma State’s wide receivers this season to former first-round NFL Draft picks Dez Bryant and Justin Blackmon.
What the Cowboys lack in proven top talent, though, they might just make up for in depth.
It’s been a few years since Bryant and Blackmon starred at Oklahoma State, where they blitzed Big 12 Conference defenders with their rare combination of size, speed and ability to beat defenses. This season, the Oklahoma State coach said the Cowboys have as many as a dozen wide receivers on the roster who are capable of starting, and he has a proven commodity in junior Josh Stewart.
“We may be as good at that position as we ever have been without having maybe a potential first-round guy that would be in the senior class,” Gundy said.
Oklahoma State’s receivers have the chance this season to be a collective unit instead of a one-man show. The Cowboys return their top four from last season, and Stewart could do something that Blackmon accomplished twice during his time in Stillwater.
Stewart and Oklahoma State senior Tracy Moore were named to the preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation’s top receiver. Blackmon won the award in 2010 and 2011, and Bryant was a runner-up for it in 2008.
“Coming in last season, all I wanted to do is . whatever I had to do when I had the ball to help my team out and that’s the mindset I had,” Stewart said. “It seemed like a small thing, but it turned out big.
“Look where I’m at now. I’m not going to change that mindset because there’s no need to change it.”
The Cowboys’ high-powered offense has a way of producing 1,000-yard receivers regardless of who’s taking snaps at quarterback. That was evident during Stewart’s breakout sophomore season in 2012.
He emerged as one of the nation’s leading receivers with 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns, doing so despite having three different quarterbacks throw passes to him last year.
Stewart’s 1,210 yards were the third-most by a sophomore in Oklahoma State history, trailing only Blackmon’s school-record 1,782 yards in 2010 and Bryant’s 1,480 yards in 2008.