Spring position battle: Oklahoma State left tackle

As spring practice gets rolling in the Big 12, we’re taking a closer look this week at the league’s most interesting position battles. The series continues with a preview of the competition at left tackle for Oklahoma State.

Departed: Victor Salako

Spring contenders: senior Shane Richards, junior Arlington Hambright, freshman Dylan Galloway, freshman Teven Jenkins

The skinny: Salako, a two-year starter after transferring from UAB upon the shutdown of its program, turned into a success story in Stillwater. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors and played a key role in the Cowboys' potent offense as the primary protector of quarterback Mason Rudolph.

His departure looms large on an offensive line that returns three starters in addition to veteran Larry Williams. The Cowboys' recruiting efforts on the offensive line fell flat, contributing to the ouster of offensive line coach Greg Adkins. Oklahoma State did sign Hambright out of Garden City (Kansas) Community College to join the mix under new assistant Josh Henson with Richards, a 6-foot-8, 325-pound juco transfer from a year ago and the two redshirt freshmen.

Though there are plenty of bodies in the bid to replace Salako, experience is minimal. A potential home run of a solution looms as Aaron Cochran, is available as a graduate transfer from Cal. Cochran, 6-8 and 350 pounds, considered the NFL after starting 16 games over three seasons. He visited Oklahoma State in early March.

Prediction: If the Cowboys land Cochran, it’s likely a done deal that he fills the spot. Regardless, he’s out of the mix this spring. Watch for Richards, a Jamaican-born Canadian product, to rise above the other contenders in practice. And unless Cochran enters the picture this summer, Richards gets the nod in August.