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The exchange of receiver talent offers opportunities for next season

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Oklahoma State will be without some of its best receivers from last season, but the team is well-equipped to make up for it.

Last season, OSU's offense was the focus of a three-man quarterback battle early on. Ultimately, Alan Bowman won the contest and helped OSU to a 10-win season that included an appearance in the Big 12 Championship.

Although Bowman got going alongside Ollie Gordon in the backfield, Bowman's success would have been minimal without the Cowboys' receiving core. Stars like Brennan Presley are expected to return next season, but some of the Cowboys' key receivers are no longer in Stillwater.

Those players include Leon Johnson III, who forfeited his redshirt and remaining eligibility midway through the season to give OSU a boost. Johnson played in ten games over the course of the season, including the team's final eight games.

Although he rushed for a season-high 149 yards in his home game against Cincinnati, Johnson's biggest play came in the Cowboys' regular season finale against BYU. With nine catches for 132 yards, Johnson helped the Cowboys to an 18-point comeback to secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship.

Johnson transferred to OSU from George Fox for just one season, but this offseason another Cowboy left Stillwater to pursue his career elsewhere. After spending three seasons at OSU, Jaden Bray entered the transfer portal and will play at West Virginia next season.

After a successful freshman season in which he amassed 250 yards and two touchdowns, Bray only played three games in 2022 due to injury. However, he returned in 2023 to make a significant impact for the Cowboys.

Last season, Bray played in 10 games and rushed for at least 40 yards in six games, including a 77-yard effort against Kansas State.

Although OSU loses two of its top four receivers from last season, De'Zhaun Stribling's return from injury could offset the Cowboys' losses. With the Cowboys' two leading receivers, Presley and Rashod Owens, back next season, their workload will naturally be high again.

Although some of the Cowboys' best players will return to support the departures, this also provides room for growth for other receivers, such as Talyn Shettron. OSU's receiving room will be missing some of their significant contributors from last season, but it's hard not to be optimistic about the return of production for next season.

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