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Is Receiver Now a Concern for Sanders and Cowboys with Departures?

Oklahoma State lost four scholarship receivers off the roster over the past two weeks. Is this an issue that could keep the Cowboys from the goals they have set for next season?

STILLWATER -- You can't always sense emotion in the written word, so text messages, social media posts, and text questions on my daily radio show don't come with raised eyebrows, tears, or panic in the voice. However, when fielding phone call inquiries on radio you do get a tinge of the emotion. I've sensed anger and a slight degree or panic and frustration since Patrick McKaufman, Tyrell Alexander, L.C. Greenwood, and finally, C.J. Moore one-by-one put themselves in the NCAA transfer portal. All four receivers and all four in slightly different situations, but enough concentration in losing four scholarship receivers that fans are wondering if something is wrong and if the loss of the quartet will impact Oklahoma State's prophecy of success for the 2020 season?

It does leave new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn with six returning scholarship receivers and a total of nine, at this point, including the three freshman signees. 

The numbers kind of tell the story as to why the four receivers have left. McKaufman, a quarterback in high school at Oklahoma City Douglass made conversion to receiver at NEO A&M Junior College, and Dunn was anxious to have him. A knee injury in the preseason before the 2018 season set him back and he never made a catch.

Alexander has bounced back from receiver to defensive back and back to receiver. He has been a constant contributor on special teams, but with one year left in his college career and only two receptions, both in his freshman season and including a 56-yard touchdown catch vs. Kansas, he was looking for more. 

Greenwood also bounced over to defense as a linebacker, but then came back to receiver. The high school record setter and four-star prospect looks the part, but he was only able to catch three passes, all this past season for 12-yards total. 

Moore may have had the biggest upside and was a four-star prospect coming out of Tulsa Union. Moore was still thin at 6-5, 175-pounds but he had four catches this season for 81-yards and two touchdowns. 

The four receivers departing combined for a total of nine catches and 161-yards with three touchdowns. This past season the total was seven receptions for 93-yards and two touchdowns.

"I hate to lose any guys," Dunn told me. "We will be okay. We've got guys that can make plays that are proven. Tylan, Dillon, Landon, and Braydon are all back. I'm really excited about (red-shirt freshman) Langston Anderson. Have you seen Rashod (Owens)?" 

Owens had been on campus for his official visit and Dunn was excited to see him and mentioned that all the freshmen, Brennen Presley and Matt Polk too could help out as freshmen. 

The returning receivers combined for production this past season of 154 receptions for 2,190-yards and 17 touchdowns. The bulk of that was the 53 catches for 903-yards and eight touchdowns from Tylan Wallace, but Spencer Sanders recently said losing Wallace helped him to progress his game by forcing him to look for other receivers. 

"Well, building chemistry with other receivers when Tylan went down really helped me because when they do double cover Tylan and double cover Stone, I've got Wolf, I've got Braydon," Sanders said recently. "I've got other factors and putting those factors into our game I think that helps because they can't double cover Tylan. We've got other (players) factors that work in our offense." 

There are some quality walk-ons as well as Jacob Morris, Gabe Simpson, and Cade Cavender have proven themselves in practice to be competitive. 

As Dunn mentioned, the freshmen could end up helping to a greater extent than in recent seasons. The cowboy backs and the running backs are likely to have more involvement in the passing offense as well under Dunn. 

The numbers are low, but the talent seems to be high. The goals are in place and have not changed. 

"I watch film at least four times a week," Sanders said to the media when asked about getting better. "I watch at least eight ours a week and I'm working to be the best quarterback I can be for this team, these fans, this University. Hopefully, everybody is setting for sure on a Big 12 Championship. I want to go all the way, personally."