The other Cowboy safety, sophomore Markelle Martin, charged across the field to make a path for Antoine. Snead got in the way.
Martin decleated Snead in a clean football play that resulted in Snead’s helmet bouncing off the turf toward the sideline. Antoine was known as “The Punisher” back then, but after that hit, the torch was passed to Martin.
Martin continued to act as the dominating physical presence in the OSU secondary for the next two years. If receivers dared to cross the middle, Martin was there to greet them. Last season, the media could talk all they wanted about an inconsistent Cowboy defense.
One thing they couldn’t discredit? The big-hit ability of Martin.
But now, Martin is in training camp with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The OSU secondary returns a number of key starters in the secondary, including Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, but there’s one Cowboy that’s dead set on reviving the intimidation factor to opposing offenses: safety Daytawion Lowe.
Lowe, 5-feet-11 and 205 pounds, led the Cowboys in tackles last season, 97, and forced three fumbles. Entering his second season in a starting role, he’s ready to be then next physically dominating safety at OSU.
Devin Hedgepeth, a junior cornerback, said Lowe has the tools to fill Martin’s shoes as the heavy hitter in the secondary.
“D Lowe had a great season last year, so he’s already got an intimidation factor with other teams,” Hedgepeth said. “They have our film, so they see what he’s done in games. They know what he’s able to do.”
Lowe sat down with gopokes.com to discuss his role on the OSU defense this season:
What did you take away from all the personal success you achieved last season?
Lowe: When I’m around the field, I just love being around the ball, so it was just me playing. It was a blessing really that I got to be out there – and a blessing that I had Markelle (Martin) next to me. He kind of taught me the ropes. He kept me calm in certain situations and gave me a lot of confidence.
Martin was the big-hitter on the defense last season, who is going to replace him as the intimidator? Would your teammates say you’re now the most physical member of the secondary?
Lowe: Markelle taught me a lot. He’s a leader and knew his stuff. What he taught and passed down to me – now it’s my turn to do the same thing in return for the team … I hope my teammates don’t back me up (as the hardest hitter on the team). Our secondary thrives on competition. We want to challenge each other to do better. We always count on each other to push each other forward.
Are you excited about the talent level of the defense this season? And do you think this secondary could be the best in the Big 12?
Lowe: It’s always been offense, offense, offense – we always felt like we never got our respect. Now, as people are putting the pressure on us, we’ve got to show up. We love it. We’ve really been waiting for that … definitely; I think we’re one of the best. I thought we were one of the best last year. I always think we’re the best, but it really comes down to going out there and proving it.