CB Darrent Williams

2003 Statistics

Coach: Les Miles
21-16, 3 years
2003 Record: 9-4
at Nebraska LOST 7-17
at Southern Methodist WON 52-6
at Texas A&M WON 38-10
at Oklahoma LOST 9-52
at Baylor WON 38-21
Mississippi LOST 28-31

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-21

2004 Outlook

The Cowboys have improved each of the last three seasons, and are in the midst of a genuine ascension towards the top of the Big 12 conference. Head coach Les Miles is much of the reason why. He has instilled a winning attitude at the university and has implemented a system that has prompted success. Like most prominent head coaches, Miles has surrounded himself with knowledgeable assistants, like offensive coordinator Mike Gundy. The former Poke quarterback has worked well with Fields, and his predecessor Asi Pogi. His schemes and offensive intricacies have worked wonders. Need proof? The Cowboys scored over 38 points nine times in 2003, and over 50 on three different occasions. But, conversely, they need to stop offenses themselves, something not consistently done in '03.

Navigating the Big 12, which is routinely one of the most competitive conferences in college football, is no easy task. Nationally established programs like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Nebraska have had a chokehold on the league for years, but teams like OSU seem to be easing their grip. It takes a talented, and almost more importantly, an experienced team to compete for the conference championship, and unlike in years past, it looks like State has both. Eighteen returning starters highlight the veteran group, and in addition to having learned the subtle foibles of the sport, they have learned how to win. The current seniors have wins over three top ten teams on their resumes, and have increased the school's win total in each of their years on campus. With leaders like Fields, Mayes, Williams, and the new Woods', the potential is unlimited.

But that defense is truly the key to winning in the Big 12, and OSU has yet to establish any trends of units that can stop foes when most needed. Sure, they win a big one (or two) annually, but they likewise/regularly lose those critical games that could mean that upper echelon. It is all dependent on the secondary for '04 - you will be able to measure the team's fate by following their defensive performances, especially the run-stoppers' consistency levels. You will know early on if they have the metal to challenge OU, Nebraska, and Texas (all powerhouses again) as needed. More will have to be done, though, for State to climb these proverbial mountains that double as college football programs.

Projected 2004 record: 7-4
QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 2.5 DB - 3.5
OL - 4 ..

Passing: Josh Fields, 338-184-12, 2494 yds., 21 TD

Rushing: Vernand Morency, 135 att., 918 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: D’Juan Woods, 31 rec., 479 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Vernand Morency, 8 TD, 48 pts.

Punting: Cole Farden, 52 punts., 43.2 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Paul Duren, 97 tot., 51 solo, 3 TFL

Sacks: Pagitte McGee, 2 sacks. Marque Fountain, 2 sacks

Interceptions: Darrent Williams, 5 for 130 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Robert Jones, 17 ret., 19.7 avg.

Punt Returns: Darrent Williams, 13 ret., 17.9 avg., 2 TD


QB Josh Fields


OFFENSE: Matt Hardison-OT, Rashaun Woods-WR, Gabe Lindsay-WR, Tatum Bell-TB, Luke Phillips-K
DEFENSE: Greg Richmond-DE, Khreem Smith-DE, Antonio Smith-DE, Fath' Carter-SS, Elbert Craig-WS

On a team full of battle-tested veterans, senior Josh Fields fits the mold perfectly. Though he can be erratic at times, the stocky gunslinger will be one of the conferences elite quarterbacks. For State to progress to the next level, however, Fields must improve his field awareness. At times, he looked as if he had regressed some in that department as a junior, and in the Cowboys three regular season losses, his mishaps were magnified. With two complete seasons now under his belt, maturity and experience should aide his occasional inconsistencies. Given the gaudy statistics he has recorded during his tenure, expect a stellar senior season from the in-state product. After Fields, the depth has promise and name-recognition. Sophomore Jamie Beeghley played sparingly during his first season but not enough to warrant much attention. Aside from Fields, he is the only returning Cowboy quarterback with any game experience. Highly touted freshman Robert Reid arrived on campus early, just as Donovan Woods, brother of Rashaun and D'Jaun, is eagerly anticipated. It's all good, really.

Running Back
All Vernan Morencey needed was a chance. With starter Tatum Ball out for the final two regular season games, the freshman stepped up and rushed for over 225 yards in consecutive outings. Morencey's low center of gravity compliments his north-south running style. What separates Morencey from other underclassmen skill-position players is that he understands the game well and adjusts it to his comforts. Look for him to become a household name in Stillwater rather quickly. Senior Seymore Shaw provides quality depth - look for him to become the short yardage back. Shawn Willis a proven lead blocker, and also brings agility and a knack for the endzone to the stable.

Wide Receiver
D'Jaun Woods isn't Rashaun Woods, but he could be. The younger sibling of the All-American made promising strides during his first season and should take a huge step towards stardom this year. In many ways, 2003 was a season of familiarity and transition for Woods. With the freshman tutorial now over and his confidence budding, look for him to flourish. Finding someone to step up aside him is a major off-season priority. No other returning receiver boasts any meaningful statistics, thus the supporting cast is not bankable by any means. Incoming freshman Seth Newton has all of the physical tools and should be given the reps to emerge as a major player in the rotation, but one of the veteran returnees must assert themselves. D'Jaun isn't good enough to carry the entire team, just as his brother tried to do the same and they finished 79th in passing offense.

Tight End
Billy Bajema is a primed for a big season. As a junior, he developed into a pertinent part of the Cowboy offense, and with the lack of proven talent at receiver, his skills become increasingly more important. Charlie Johnson is a nice second option and stands as a towering downfield target. He could find himself with favorable defensive match-ups as a second receiving tight end. Regardless, the team will freeze LBs and safeties in two-TE formations that are passing plays, thus the entire offense will open up when OSU establishes such early and teams then get caught looking for it.

Offensive Line
As a group, the front line is relatively unheralded. Regardless, they are efficient, and with four starters returning, the battle at the line of scrimmage should be a definite Cowboy strength. Three-year starting guard Sam Mayes is the leader of the group, a real road-grader, and he mauls opponents with his menacing size. Feisty Ben Buie returns at center, and will team with Mayes, and guard Chris Akin, to create a formidable interior. The tackles are a bit undersized, and must use their agility and footwork to hinder pass rushers. This is essentially the same crew that blew huge enough holes such that the team's season average was over five yards per carry to rank 11th nationally in rushing offense. Factor in that they also gave up but 17 sacks, and you see why we are so high on them and therefore, OSU's chances.

The pieces are in place for OSU to have one of the most explosive offenses in the Big 12. Seven returning starters bring experience and confidence to the field, and having a senior leader like Fields managing the game will prove valuable. The offensive line understands the/their game, which bodes well for Morencey, who will accordingly show he wasn't a flash in the pan. Most importantly, another receiver must prove his worth, and a backup quarterback will emerge. The framework is set, so all these guys have to do is produce.


OG Sam Mayes


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Donovan Woods-Fr Bobby Reid-Fr
Josh Fields-Sr (baseball)
FB Shawn Willis-Jr Julius Crosslin-Fr
TB Vernand Morency-Jr Seymore Shaw-Sr
WR D'Juan Woods-So Kenneth Woods-Jr
WR Eric Allen-Fr Chijuan Mack-Fr
TE Billy Bajema-Sr Charlie Johnson-Jr
OT Corey Hilliard-So David Koenig-Fr
OG Doug Bond-So David Washington-Fr
C Chris Akin-Sr Ben Buie-Sr (inj.)
OG Sam Mayes-Sr Adam Gourley-Sr
OT Kellen Davis-Jr Phil Friess-So
K Luke Roberts-Fr Jason Ricks-Fr



Defensive Line
Collectively, this unit needs a spark. And they will get one in the form of Antonio Smith. He is the team's most proven pass rusher, and will have to improve his play even more than he already has, as he now becomes the focus at defensive end. He is crucial to the line's effectiveness. Clay Coe will anchor the middle, and has enough to beef to be a viable interior force. He must, and will, become a more active, penetrating playmaker, and will benefit from a talented partner. The Cowboys need more than a space-eater aside Coe, they need production. The ones tapped for that inside assignment are smallish and not up-to-snuff. But end Marque Fountain showed much potential as a freshman, enough to start as one, and he will again prove himself worthy. The 2003 line was mediocre, so this revamping is just what Doc Holliday ordered.

Paul Duren is a proven, quality talent. He broods leadership, and also makes plays. For the second consecutive season, he led the team in the tackles. Victor DeGrade came out of nowhere as a freshman and immediately upgraded the position. He brings athleticism to the lineup and allows his teammates more freedom because of his speed and quickness. Pagittie McGee is a player to watch as he as continued to progress during his first two seasons. Because of the Cowboys' primary 4-2-5 defensive scheme, depth is good here. But since this corps sorely underachieved last time around, they now have their work cut out for them if the Cowboys ever want to become a first-tier Big XII team, eh.

Defensive Back
Without question, this is the strength of the defense, especially returning three senior and two junior starters. Darrent Williams, an All-Big 12 performer from a year ago, leads the way. He finished third in the league in interceptions with six (two for TDs). Simply put, he is a playmaker, and makes opposing quarterbacks think twice (17 passes brokenup). Robert Jones is a formidable second corner, and should be even more productive in his second season after transferring from junior college. Though a bit undersized, Vernon Grant is the best tackler of the bunch. He is adequate in pass defense, but likes to be physical and play as a pseudo-LB near the line. Players like him make the Cowboys' unconventional defensive alignment work. A player to watch is Jamar Ransom. Built like a truck, the junior was a viable part of the rotation in 2003, and is primed to become a fixture in the secondary. He has linebacker size, but more than enough speed to excel in coverage.

Much work to be done here in spring ball. OSU ranked 78th in total defense in '03, giving up 221 points to five opponents' offenses, all defeats but two. The Cowboys went 5-3 to end, giving up 34 points per tilt in the process. The back-seven is strong, with Duren and Williams roaming free, but the crux of the group will be the defensive line. As a unit, they don't have to overwhelm, they just need to be resourceful. Managing the line of scrimmage, rather than dominating it, would avoid over-pursuit and therefore allow the playmakers behind them to take advantage of their skills. If the front-four can do that, the OSU defense will be much improved. This side of the ball is the team's key to success in 2004.


LB Paul Duren


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Jerry Don Bray-Jr Maurice Cummings-Fr
DT Xavier Lawson-Kennedy-So Efe Mowarin-Sr
NG Clay Coe-Sr Brad Girtman-So
DE Marque Fountain-So Nathan Peterson-Fr
MLB Victor DeGrate-So Lawrence Pinson-Jr
LB Pagitte McGee-Jr Paul Duren-Jr
CB Darrent Williams-Sr Dan McLemore-Jr
CB Robert Jones-Sr Ricky Coxeff-So
SS Vernon Grant-Jr Jamie Thompson-Sr
FS Jon Holland-Sr Thomas Wright-Jr
WS Jamar Ransom-Jr Jeremy Nethon-So
P Cole Farden-Sr Jason Ricks-Fr




With reliable veteran Luke Phillips now gone, the staff will be forced to hand the duties to an untested newcomer. Incoming freshman Jason Ricks, who happens to be a remarkable athlete, could get the early nod. He was 13-of-15 as a prep senior and had a 49-yard boot to his credit. Redshirt freshman Luke Roberts is the other option.

Cole Farden is an excellent punter. He has the leg strength to reverse field position woes and will likely be one of the league's best punters in 2004. He is a true weapon.

Return Game
The kick-return unit is virtually anticlimactic, though Robert Jones and Vernan Morencey have potential. Darrent Williams will be an exciting punt return man. He averaged an astounding 17.9 yards per return, which would have ranked him tops in the conference had he had enough touches to qualify. He scored twice on returns as a junior and enters his final season as one of the premier return men in the nation.


QB Josh Fields finished the baseball season hitting strong (.362), so it's likely that he'll sign a pro baseball contract and not return to the gridiron in 2004. In his absence this spring, RSF Donovan Woods and true frosh Bobby Reid took the majority of the snaps under center, with Woods gaining a slight edge (especially since Reid suffered a shoulder injury at the end of the spring that is likely to force him out this fall). His brother, phenom WR D'Juan Woods, led the way offensively, catching six passes for 84 yards and three TDs. Senior RB Greg Jones was the most improved offensive player, looking like a completely different back. He's bulked up to 210 lbs and added some bounce to his step, thus producing a solid spring. C Ben Buie is still recovering from a leg fracture and Chris Akin spent the spring at his vacated center position. Moving into his OG spot rather impressively was Doug Bond.

Jeremy Nethon gave a rousing exhibition of hitting from his WS position this off-season. He was a special teams terror last season, but has refined his skills and is ready to assume a backup role in the secondary. The defensive line is extremely young and thin, but with a little maturity, this group will be one to reckon with. True freshmen Maurice Cummings and Nathan Peterson proved this spring that they could contribute right away (as backups) in this group. Soph DT Darnell Smith also fits in that bunch. DBs Vernon Grant and Darrent Williams showed much fire and enthusiasm and will be the called-upon leaders of that secondary. The overall speed of this defense is what stands out. LB Roderick Johnson has made some strides and will be a factor in the LB corps.

TB Mike Hamilton (fr)
DE Maurice Cummings (fr)
QB Donovan Woods (rsf)