Much of the offseason hype surrounding Oklahoma State football has been on the basis of the big three on offense and the stout defense who returns nearly everyone.
The success of the team though, will be directly riding off of the production of the offensive big three in Spencer Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace with Sanders being the key piece. We all know that Chuba is the best running back in college football and we know that a healthy Tylan Wallace is among the elite of the elite.
Sanders, who is coming off of his redshirt freshman season, where he saw his first action as a Cowboy and proved himself to be worthy of the starting job is in line for a massive jump in production and ability.
The physical attributes have always been there. He has the arm talent that is among the best in the nation. He has the speed and elusiveness that make him a true dual threat quarterback but he also has the natural aggressiveness on every play that makes him unpredictable at times. As a quarterback this is exactly what you want when a defense is trying to get a read on you.
The progress from year one to year two we should see is the mental processing and ball security that seemed to hamper him throughout 2019, especially early in the season. This is to be expected though from such a young player.
I personally believe that with Kasey Dunn now as offensive coordinator, we will see another level of Spencer Sanders that makes this team not just talk and hype but a legit threat to any team in the nation.
I am not the only one with this thinking either. One of the premiere NFL Draft Analyst companies, The Draft Network, wrote a piece yesterday on why Spencer Sanders is the leader of the pack in terms of “sleeper quarterbacks”.
TDN is not saying that Spencer Sanders will be leaving for the NFL after this season but they do bring to light the talent that Sanders has shown and what could come from this upcoming season to put his name in a national spotlight.
The big names in terms of nationally known quarterbacks are clearly Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and the now popular Trey Lance, out of North Dakota State. Benjamin Solak of TDN was trying to find who could be the next big name to watch for. His answer was the QB1 in Stillwater.
“While prospect watch lists are being built, many people are gathering names and trying to figure out how generally good these players are and who is worthy to follow in the 2020 season. Sleeper prospects come when the season begins and draft discourse on their 2020 film begins. If nobody is truly undiscovered, who can really be a sleeper during the summer? I'm going to argue the closest thing we've currently got is Spencer Sanders, the rootin'-tootin' gunslinger for Oklahoma State.”
One thing that Solak points out is that even though Sanders was a RS-freshman, his stats were on line with some of the better quarterbacks in the nation. Sanders was responsible for 8.4 yards per attempt and 63% completion rate, not numbers usually posted by freshmen. These stats were nearly identical with the likes of Iowa State’s Brock Purdy, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, and Florida’s Kyle Trask. All three of these names are considered to be in decent draft position come next April.
While Solak said these numbers are impressive, there is room for great improvement. “Sanders' film is extremely fun. He's an aggressive and accurate passer who looks for downfield opportunities and can extend plays to get those downfield shots by moving within the pocket or scrambling away from pressure. He's risk-prone with the football both as a ball-carrier and passer, but again, a lot of that can be excused and understood through the lens of his age. The more experience he gets, the smarter you expect him to become.”
One of the biggest tools Sanders will use to progress is his offensive counterparts. The offensive weapons Sanders will have at his disposal is almost laughable with how much talent and production he has returning to him. This was something Sanders mentioned on a SiriusXM radio show yesterday.
Robert Allen has a story about Sanders' full comments on the radio show and what he said about this upcoming season. In one of his quotes he directly mentioned Tylan Wallace, Chuba Hubbard, Dillon Stoner, Landon Wolf and Braydon Johnson. It is key to also mention that former 4 star Langston Anderson will be a RS-Freshman getting his first action on the field along with the talented tight ends in Jelani Woods, Logan Carter, and Dayton Metcalf.
On the radio show Sanders said “I really have a weapon here, a weapon here, a weapon here, and another one over here. Just having these weapons all around, it is going to be hard to stop us.”
I am 100% a believer in Kasey Dunn and one of the key things I believe will be impactful is that he is the wide receivers coach. He will be trying to spread the wealth around to each and every one of his guys while also having the nation's best tail back running up and down the field. With this mentality of play calling with Sanders’ natural aggression for big plays, I believe it is a match no Big 12 defense will be able to handle.
With football workouts reopening here in a couple of weeks, the chemistry between Sanders and his weapons will continue growing and I feel confident saying that at the end of the 2020 season, Spencer Sanders will no longer be a sleeper.