July 25, 2012

Fall position preview: Defensive Backs

Outside of one big hole to fill, the Oklahoma State defensive backfield is loaded for the 2012 season.

The Cowboys return an All-Big 12 cornerback in senior Brodrick Brown and their leading tackler from 2011 in junior free safety Daytawion Lowe.

Brown is OSU's top returning player in both career and consecutive starts, with 27 to his credit in both categories. Brown did it all for the Cowboys in their Big 12 Championship season, tallying 68 tackles, five interceptions, 15 pass-breakups and recovered two fumbles.

Opposite of Brown is a player who doesn't have as many awards to his name, but has more pro potential. Junior Justin Gilbert started all 13 games in 2011 and turned in numbers similar to Brown's: 59 tackles, 5 interceptions, 10 breakups and a fumble recovery. Gilbert is also a huge factor in OSU's return game.

The tandem is arguably the Big 12's best at cornerback, but things do get murky behind them on the depth chart.

After missing the entire 2010 season due to injury, Lowe returned for his sophomore season in a big way. He led the Cowboys with 97 total tackles. On top of that, he had two sacks, one interception, five breakups, recovered one fumble and forced three from his free safety position. He'll be backed up by another solid contributor from last season. Junior Zack Craig found a role as OSU's fifth defensive back in nickel and dime alignments after a couple others went down with injuries, while also backing up Lowe. He totaled 19 tackles and one sack while playing in all 13 games.

Strong safety is the lone position in the Cowboy secondary that will be breaking in a new starter. Markelle Martin took his talents to the NFL's Tennessee Titans. The Pokes do have two talented players vying to keep Martin's "No Fly Zone" up to par.

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