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2021 position breakdown: Special teams

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NCAA Football: Tulsa at Oklahoma State

Sep 19, 2020; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys place kicker Alex Hale (19) kicks a field goal against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Hale planted his left leg in the grass Gaylord Family- Oklahoma Memorial Stadium while warming up for Bedlam.

It was something Hale had done many times throughout the season, only this time Hale’s leg slipped, and he tore his ACL. Prior to the injury Hale, who was awarded a scholarship in the spring, was 13-of-14 on field goal attempts on the season and perfect from longer than 40 yards.

Despite missing the final five games of the 2020 season, Hale was named Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and a Lou Groza Award semifinalist.

Hale is expected by coach Mike Gundy to be ready for the season despite being held out of the spring. Hale will handle the kicking duties for the Cowboys again in the 2021 season, with Brady Pohl in the wings if Hale does get hurt, again.

As for the other aspect of the special teams, the Cowboys are once again turning to Tom Hutton for the punting duties. The 31-year-old junior punter finished the 2020 campaign with a 40.5-yard average on 59 punts. Hutton set a career long of 62 yards against West Virginia in 2020.

However, something that will have to change is kick and punt returner.

Last season, Dillon Stoner handled those duties, but he has taken his talents to the NFL. Brennan Presley saw some reps catching kicks last season, mostly punts. Braydon Johnson also saw some time catching kickoffs. Those two guys could both see times catching kicks.

sports.ed@ocolly.com