Oklahoma State reeled in an impressive recruiting class on Wednesday, highlighted by its depth and diversity. OSU secured commitments from 10 players who were rated four stars by at least one recruiting service. Here are the takes on each player from the Cowboy coaching staff and coach Mike Gundy's take on the class overall:
WR - Marcell Ateman (6-4, 190) – Wylie, Texas (Wylie East HS)
Wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn: "Marcell is a very tough and physical player. He's had tremendous production throughout his career and has caught a ton of balls. He's a true Cowboy. He is the type of player that could play the X, Y or Z position in our offense. He's got the range and speed and length and great hands to be effective anywhere."
ATH - Dawson Bassett (6'4, 215) – Tuttle, Okla.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "We had Dawson Bassett in camp for two years in high school and he always impressed me with his effort and athleticism. He's very rangy and has very good change of direction. The question is how quickly will he put on weight and strength. We're not sure at this point if he'd be more of a weakside linebacker or inside receiver. We love his toughness and athleticism. He's a kid who may end up being one of the gems of the class. He's 6-4, 215 and can run and he will work hard and bring a great attitude every day. It's hard to pass up on a kid like him."
RB – Rennie Childs (5'10, 185) – Houston, Texas (Cypress Ridge HS)
Running backs coach Jemal Singleton: "Rennie is the type of back that we need - a strong runner. You take a look at his film and you see that he's not afraid to run a guy over, but he's also got speed and elusiveness to run away from a guy."
OT – Zach Crabtree (6'7, 270) – Mansfield, Texas (Mansfield HS)
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline: "Zach is the true prototype of an edge tackle - a guy that can play right or left. He's an excellent pass protector and athlete. He's 275 now, but I see him topping out at about 320. He's outstanding from a standpoint of comprehension - knowing what to do and how to do it. He loves football and was recruited highly. With his brother going to school here and his parents having an affiliation, he was a great fit."
DB – Darius Curry (6'1, 190) – Flowery Branch, Ga.
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones: "Darius Curry has size. He's a big, physical corner who is athletic. He has a high football IQ - his dad was his high school defensive coordinator. Darius is a smart football player and can do a lot of different things. In high school, they played him at quarterback, receiver, safety and corner. They put him all over the field and he did well."
DB – Tre Flowers (6'3, 180) – Converse, Texas (Judson HS)
Safeties coach Van Malone: "We don't have a guy in our safety group like Tre - he's a tall, rangy guy and we don't have that. His range and his ability to attack the football is what's really impressive to us."
OT – Brandon Garrett (6'6, 285) – Athens, Texas (Trinity Valley C.C.)
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline: "We expect Brandon to come in and challenge for a starting spot. He'll be at about 295 pounds for the spring. He's got good fundamentals and is very intelligent. He is an athletic player with good bend."
K – Ben Grogan (6'1, 175) – Arlington, Texas (Martin HS)
Graduate assistant Ty Linder: "Ben Grogan has got a huge leg, first of all. He makes 60 yard field goals in practice consistently. Consistency is the other thing. In one game, he went five-for-five on field goals. His coaches say he's got ice in his veins and loves to be under pressure. His huge leg and his consistency is what drew us to him."
DT – Ofa Hautau (6'2, 290) – Salt Lake City, Utah (Snow College)
Defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements: "The first thing that immediately grabs your attention about Ofa Hautau is that he's a high-motor player. He's sideline to sideline. He's all over the place. You can tell that he plays with a tremendous amount of energy and strength. He's a guy that can be very disruptive for us up front. Our hope is that he comes right in and makes an impact immediately."
DT – Ben Hughes (6'2, 310) – Waco, Texas (University HS)
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "Ben is a 315-pound kid right now. He has got the girth that we're looking for and a big body. He's a quick kid. He's the kind of kid at 315 that you'd think can hold a gap immediately. We've got to get him to learn the speed of the game in the Big 12 and play at the same rate every play. His strength numbers and body mass make him a candidate for early playing time."
OG – Jack Kurzu (6'4, 315) – St. Louis, Mo. (Mary Institute Country Day)
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline: "In our scheme, I see Jack Kurzu as an inside guy playing either right or left guard, maybe some center. He's more of a road-grader type. He's physical and athletic and very smart. He understands the game. Jack has shown through his years that he wants to be and is going to be a very good college football player who can excel at this level."
DE – Vili Leveni (6'4, 260) – Hurst, Texas (L.D. Bell HS)
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "When you look at Vili on film, you see a real rangy kid with a lot length and long arms, but he's deceiving size-wise. He looks thin on film, but when you see him in person, he has a great lower body. As a sophomore, he was 218 pounds and now he's up to 255 pounds but is still very athletic. He still has great growth potential. He's got a 35-inch vertical and he's explosive. He played everywhere up front. He's a very quick kid and is fast off the ball."
CB – Taylor Lewis (6'0, 180) - Desoto, Texas
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones: "Taylor is very athletic, but what we really liked about him is that he's a competitor and he has an unbelievable work ethic. He loves football and he comes from good high school program. Taylor came to our camp here and did well. He really competed. What we noticed about him is that he loves to come down and hit you and get physical."
CB – Jerel Morrow (6'1, 180) – Emporia, Kan.
Cornerbacks coach Jason Jones: "Jerel is big and very athletic - he's a 48-foot triple jumper. Our track coaches tell me that his high school mark would have ranked second in the Big 12 last year. When we look at Jerel, we can see him doing well in playing man-to-man against the bigger receivers that you find in the Big 12."
DE – Naim Mustafaa (6'4, 235) – Alpharetta, Ga.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "Naim is a big-time defensive end who can rush the passer and is very athletic. He has a very high motor and is a competitor. He uses his hands very well. He is a quiet person by nature, but he turns it up when he's on the field."
S – Deric Robertson (6'2, 185) – Killeen, Texas (Killeen HS)
Safeties coach Van Malone: "Deric plays at Killeen High School, which in the state of Texas is well-known for the speed of its players. He's got really good size for a safety and he has played some corner. With his size and speed, we're looking for him to be a versatile player."
OT – Jesse Robinson (6'6, 280) – Hurst, Texas (L.D. Bell HS)
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline: "We got on Jesse late. We had him in some camps and liked him all along, but we just didn't know where we would be slot-wise. He kind of falls into the category of a two-dimensional guy - he can play inside, he can play outside, he can play right or left. He's very athletic. He's strong, but is going to get a lot stronger and a lot bigger. Jesse is an upbeat kid and very intelligent. He comes from a program where they've done a great job with all their players. He's been well-coached. Football is important to him and he loves Oklahoma State. It's a great fit for both of us."
OG – Jaxon Salinas (6'4, 300) – Irving, Texas (Irving HS)
Wickline: "Jaxon is a good kid. He's the guy that everybody looked at but maybe they weren't ready to take thinking he should be an inch taller, can he be this or can he be that. He's plenty tall. He's got nice weight and some good strength numbers. He's a great leader. He'll be the one that probably ends up running the show playing center. He's got some nice girth to him, which we need inside. He's physical, he gets after it and football is really important to him."
WR – Rashaad Samples (5'10, 170) – Dallas, Texas (Skyline HS)
Wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn: "Ra'Shaad is a football junkie - a complete gym rat. He's a coach's kid. He's competitive and tremendously strong for his size. He has the reach of someone who is six-foot-four. He can reach longer than me and I'm 6-2 and he's 5-11. He can dunk a basketball with two hands just jumping vertically from straight under the hoop with no kind of start."
S – Jordan Sterns (6'1, 195) – Cibolo, Texas (Steele HS)
Safeties coach Van Malone: "Jordan was the leader of a good team that played for a state championship. He's a competitor. He's got incredible ball skills and is a threat to turn the ball over and score for your defense on any given play."
DT – Vincent Taylor (6'3, 265) – San Antonio, Texas (Madison HS)
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "Vincent Taylor is very explosive. At 275-280 pounds, he's really quick. He's going to have to learn how to play at this competition level. He's dominated his competition to this point. He comes from a good program and we know he works hard. He has an incredible wingspan. For a defensive tackle, it's good to play low and still have long arms to separate off blocks. He has the feet of a linebacker."
RB – Corion Webster (5'11, 190) – Atlanta, Texas
Running backs coach Jemal Singleton: "What we saw in Corion Webster was a very explosive straight-line guy that also had great ball skills. For us in this offense, we need a guy that can hit the home run but can also be a receiver out of the backfield. Corion can do both of those."
DE – Sam Wren (6'3, 260) – Yuma, Ariz. (Arizona Western C.C.)
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer: "We saw Sam late in the process but we knew we liked him. He's what we call a quick-twitch kid. He's got a lot of bounce. As soon as he learns the terminology, we think he's ready to play physically. He'll get a lot of looks during the spring because we're trying to have him ready to play immediately."
Head coach Mike Gundy:
On the class overall:
"Today's been a really good day for Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State football. We were able to sign a really balanced class with the exception of a couple positions. We have a number of young players on our team that we feel like will develop and we'll pick up those positions next year. We obviously had tremendous success in the state of Texas. We were able to pick up a couple players in the Atlanta area again. I feel like we addressed some needs at positions with some two-year players that should be a little more mature and a little more physical and give us a chance to help out those positions right away. I would like to thank our staff, recruiting office, media, the young ladies that help us in recruiting who are students here and our players, who have been our best recruiters. Our current players love being a part of Oklahoma state football and they were our biggest recruiters during the recruiting season. I also want to thank Coach Holder for allowing us private air use. We have a number of donors and Oklahoma State supporters who donate private planes and allow us to get from one city to another. Without everyone pulling together and without the use of airplanes it would be difficult to put a class like this together. It's a good day for Oklahoma State football. I'm looking forward to getting these guys in here this summer and letting them get started being a part of our team."
On the type of players and people he looks to bring to Oklahoma State:
"We try to get young men who fit our system, who have values, who want to be a part of our team and football is really important to them. Each year we come across three or four guys who are really talented, but in our opinion they won't be a team player, or they won't fit Stillwater, or they won't fit what we need here, so we pass on them. Now, there's a lot of players who pass on Oklahoma State, don't get me wrong. Sometimes we see young men that may not be rated very high. I could throw the names out there all day. I think Justin Blackmon was a two or three star, Kendall Hunter came down to us and TCU, with Pettigrew it came down to us and one other school—the list goes on and on. We have to decide whether they fit our program and we fit their needs here. For example, if you just go take a running back who may be really good in someone's eyes, but doesn't fit our system, so he's not successful here and not happy, then that didn't work. Even though he may be really good, if he doesn't fit us and what we're looking for, then it doesn't help us. In return, it doesn't help him, and he won't be a good recruiter for us. So what we do, is we try to find the right guys who fit our system so they'll be happy here. I've said this for a few years, and I'm not trying to pump up my own tires, but we take a two-star and make him a three, a three and make him a four and a four and make him a five. We really believe that is what we do."
On how recruiting has gone despite losing coaches to other schools:
"It makes it difficult. When you lose three coaches in the middle of recruiting, it can affect the relationships that have been established with recruits. Sometimes it can be difficult to mend and move forward. At the end of the day, we have to have values and know what we are on offense, defense and special teams, and how we want to handle our team - our substance and what we stand for. There are going to be coaches who come and go, but if that doesn't change, then the players understand the importance of who we are. We haven't changed those general principles. The last and probably biggest factor is Rob Glass. I've joked around and said this, but he's older than me - a lot older than me. If he ever retires, I'm in trouble. He takes our guys, and the NCAA allows him to have them year-round to teach and discipline them, and he's the best there is. He instills that discipline in them from the time they step on this campus, and when they get to us, they're already somewhat trained. He's the best there is, so he is a huge factor in the stability of this program. Even though he doesn't draw up plays, the discipline and structure he instills in them may be more important than any plays we draw up."
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