Jhajuan Seales could be the next star receiver at Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys have gotten used to having greatness at the receiver position with Dez Bryant, Rashaun Woods and Justin Blackmon starring in Stillwater, Oklahoma before being selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
Blackmon is the most recent OSU receiver to rise to stardom while calling Boone Pickens Stadium home, and Seales shares some similarities with the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner. Both players were lightly-regarded recruits, finished third on the team in receptions as redshirt freshmen and wear the No. 81 jersey.
Seales’ redshirt freshman numbers favorably compare to Blackmon. As a redshirt freshman, Blackmon caught 20 of 37 passes thrown his way (54.1 reception percentage) for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, Seales caught 39 of 61 passes thrown his way (63.9 reception percentage) for 571 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s important to note the Cowboys' offense changed drastically after Blackmon’s redshirt freshman season as Dana Holgorsen brought his high-flying attack to Stillwater in 2010. During Blackmon’s debut season in 2009, the Cowboys had 336 pass attempts and 2,333 passing yards. In 2013, OSU had 484 pass attempts and 3.599 passing yards. Make no mistake, Seales had many more opportunities to shine.
Nonetheless both players showed signs they could become elite pass-catchers during their first seasons on the field. Blackmon fulfilled that potential. Whether Seales can do the same remains to be seen but the Cowboys will be looking to him to become the main man, as he is the top returning receiver on the roster.
“He definitely can have a breakout season,” cornerback Kevin Peterson said. “He could be able to dominate this year.”
Peterson would know. He's the guy who consistently battles the sophomore during practice so he understands the challenges Seales can create for a defensive back.
“His strength and speed are really deceptive, and his routes are so smooth,” Peterson said. “If you watch film you think he’s slow, people think they can cover him, but once you’re out there guarding him, he’s throwing people out of the way and burning people [with his speed]. His size makes it deceptive the type of player he really is.”
Going against former OSU All-american cornerback and Cleveland Browns first-round pick Justin Gilbert should pay off for Seales this fall. He's a name to know as a potential breakout player in the Big 12 in 2014. With OSU needing big plays from Seales, it brings peace of mind to know he got tested during his head-to-head duals with the future NFL cornerback.
“I won sometimes, he won too, we got after it a lot during practice,” Seales said. “He gave me a lot of tips on how to go at other teams. It helped me a lot.”