STILLWATER – Jalen McCleskey will redshirt and transfer from the Oklahoma State football team, coach Mike Gundy announced Monday.
McCleskey, a senior slot receiver, is sixth in Cowboy history for receptions (167), ninth in touchdown receptions (17) and ninth in receptions per game (3.88). The news comes after OSU’s 41-17 loss against Texas Tech to open conference play Saturday.
“He didn’t feel like he was getting the ball enough,” Gundy said. “He is going to save his year, sit and transfer to another school.
“(McCleskey) did not feel good about us getting the ball to him.”
This season, McCleskey played in OSU’s first four games and had 15 catches, the second-highest total on the team, for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Against Texas Tech, his four receptions were the second most by an OSU player.
McCleskey has more catches during his career than any current Cowboy receiver.
Because of the new NCAA redshirt rules, McCleskey can redshirt because he played in OSU’s first four games. He will be allowed to transfer freely to any school.
McCleskey was targeted 22 times this season, the same number as Dillon Stoner and Tyron Johnson. Tylan Wallace leads Cowboy receivers with 45 targets.
Gundy said Monday wasn’t the first time McCleskey voiced displeasure with his role this season.
“We can’t control if he touches the ball all of the time, especially at the wide receiver position,” Gundy said. “Offense is one guy gets the ball, 10 unselfish guys have to go play their ass off. That’s what offensive football is.”
Sophomore Landon Wolf is behind McCleskey on the depth chart. He has four receptions this season and was placed on scholarship before the season opener.
“We should have taken him out”
The limp was noticeable to Cowboy fans who questioned why Calvin Bundage was playing. His coaches saw it, too.
Bundage could hardly walk straight, yet he remained on the field for a lot of action during OSU’s loss to Texas Tech. His left ankle was heavily taped while the right calf had tape on it, as well.
He didn’t play much after halftime, but Gundy said he wishes he wouldn’t have played period.
“We should have taken him out,” Gundy said. “We should’ve taken him out right away, as soon as it happened. He didn’t help us much in the game.”
Because of Bundage’s exact injury, which remains unspecified, it affected OSU’s pass rush and his speed he uses to get into opposing backfields. OSU recorded only three sacks against the Red Raiders, though they hadn’t allowed any coming into the contest.
With the brunt of Big 12 play not coming until November, Bundage could be out of commission for a while to be ready for the stretch run.
Safety Malcolm Rodriguez and Stoner also suffered injuries during Saturday’s game, though both undisclosed.
Rodriguez has shined as a sophomore in OSU’s secondary, though true freshmen Jarrick Bernard and Kolby Peel have shown glimpses of the future if Rodriguez can’t go Saturday.
Stoner’s injury is concerning because of OSU’s depth at inside receiver following McCleskey’s decision to transfer. Outside of Wolf, Wallace’s brother, Tracin Wallace, was slated as Stoner’s backup but will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL, his third knee injury in the past four years.
Gundy said he won’t know about the status of his injured players until Tuesday.
-OSU’s game against Iowa State on Oct. 6 has a kickoff time. The Cowboys and Cyclones will face off at 2:30 p.m. from Boone Pickens Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2.