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Vili Leveni was expected to start for the Cowboys this season. Unfortunately for the defensive lineman though, that isn’t going to happen.

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It’s a significant loss for Oklahoma State, and with news breaking the same day Mike Gundy took the stage at Big 12 Media Days, of course the coach was asked about it.

“It’s always difficult when you have a player that’s injured, just because they put so much hard work and time into getting prepared for the season. As a coach, it’s one of the most difficult things to swallow. You have a young man that’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and he’s put a lot of time in, and he’s come to a bump in the road.”

But the next guy has to make plays. Unfortunately, we’re in a sport where there are injuries, but that’s why we have 132 guys on our team. That’s why we continue to coach and work and develop young players. So the next guy will have to step up and make some plays.”

There’s no official word on why Leveni underwent surgery, but it’s believed to be for Achilles injury.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Leveni played in every game as part of the rotation¬†on the D-line. He earned 16 tackles highlighted by 11 solo tackles for a loss. The Cowboys don’t have a lot of depth at the position, and it’s early to have the attrition tested, but there are guys ready to step up.

“We’re not as experienced and we don’t have as much depth at that position, but there’s certain things that we can control, and that’s certainly not one of them. So Vili will be back with us at some point, and we’re looking forward to getting him back.”, Coach Gundy said.

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