It's national signing day and Oklahoma State has locked down another highly-rated class. Here is a look at this group of future Cowboys:
OLB – Gyasi Akem (6-1, 220) Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow HS)
Akem is a standout athlete who could have limitless potential once refinements are made to his on-field technique. He's fast, athletic and has a nose for the ball, which led to his being ranked a four-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN. Rivals ranked Akem No. 9 nationally at his position and the No. 5 overall player in Oklahoma. ESPN pegs Akem as the No. 15 outside linebacker in the country. He selected the Cowboys over offers from Baylor, Clemson, Ole Miss, Missouri, Oklahoma, TCU and Tennessee, among others.
"He's very versatile and plays outside. He could have the size to play multiple positions like inside linebacker or outside linebacker. I had him in camp; he is an explosive young man. He's a humble kid and accomplished great things here in the state, we're very fortunate to keep him in state." - Defensive Coordinator Glenn Spencer
OLB – D'Nerius Antoine (6-0, 215) Athens, Texas (Trinity Valley JC)
Antoine committed to the Cowboys in mid-January and is considered by most recruiting analysts to be a sleeper prospect who has potential to blossom at the FBS level. Antoine might be slightly undersized at the moment as a linebacker but he has reported sub-4.5 40 times with a bench press of 245 pounds and a squat of 500 pounds so there is no questioning his athletic ability. He is regarded as a two-star OLB prospect by Rivals and Scout but received a three-star rating and is regarded as the No. 1 junior college safety prospect by ESPN. Antoine selected the Cowboys over offers from Southern Miss, Troy and South Alabama.
"What you see first when you see him on film is how quick he gets to the point of attack. He has collision speed, and probably more than any other junior college defensive back or outside linebacker I have seen all year. We're excited about his athleticism. He returns punts and is very athletic. He's possibly a star or nickel back or linebacker for us." - Spencer
OLB – Devante Averette (6-1, 230) Iowa Falls, Iowa (Ellsworth JC)
Averette was an early signee and enrolled at Oklahoma State in January so he will go through spring football. Averette became a hot commodity after putting up 79 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a freshman at Ellsworth in 2012 and reportedly runs a 4.5 40-ayrd dash. ESPN ranked the Melvindale, Mich., native as the No. 6 inside linebacker in the JUCO ranks and he is regarded as a three-star prospect by all three major recruiting services. Averette selected the Cowboys over West Virginia, Appalachian State, Florida Atlantic and North Texas.
"Devante Averette is a mid-year transfer out of Ellsworth Community College. He is a package of dynamite and very quick off the ball. He has great blitzing instincts and is a very physical football player. He's a very emotional football player. He has a passion and I always look for what's inside a guy's chest; and for this guy football means a lot to him so we're looking for him to make an impact early." - Spencer
DE – Jordan Brailford (6-3, 220) Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)
Brailford launched up the recruiting ranks as a senior for the Hornets and is an ideal athlete and has the skill set to play defensive end, linebacker or even bulk up to play on the interior of the d-line for Glenn Spencer's defense. Brailford is crazy fast for a defensive lineman with 4.5 speed and has a reported 38-inche vertical leap, making him an explosive threat off the edge. He is regarded as a consensus top-30 defensive end nationally and is regarded as a four-star prospect by ESPN and Scout. He chose the Pokes back in June over offers from Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Washington State, among others.
"We had the opportunity to have him in camp and he showed a lot of athleticism. I had the opportunity to watch him live this fall and he played at a very high level. He played in an all-star game - the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl - out in California and did a good job against some excellent competition. He's a guy that we're excited to have in our program and I think is going to grow and do very well with the defensive end position." - Defensive Line coach Joe Bob Clements
WR – Keenen Brown (6-3, 185) Houston, Texas (Alief Taylor HS)
Brown is considered one of the Pokes' biggest gems in the 2014 class. He boasts ideal size for a primary receiver and has solid 4.5 speed to go with it. Brown is ranked as a four-star prospect by Scout and Rivals, and the latter considers him the No. 27 overall prospect in Texas. He needs to work on his quickness off the line but he has a reputation for being physical with corners and is an exceptional downfield threat. He is also regarded as a crisp route runner and a great run blocker. His offer sheet is among the most illustrious in this year's class, as the Houston product chose OSU over offers from LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Ole Miss and the list goes on.
"Keenan is a big, physical receiver but he also has speed, so it's the best of both worlds. He's a tremendous leader and very physical. He can go up and get the ball and take it away from a defender when it's just a straight jump ball-type of situation. He also can separate with his speed as well. He has toughness going over the middle and we're really excited about Keenen and what he brings." - Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurcich
DE – Trey Carter (6-4, 255) Dallas, Texas (LG Pinkston HS)
Carter is a high-end strong side defensive end prospect and has the build to add to his 255-pound frame and is rumored to be moving to defensive tackle once he arrives in Stillwater. Oklahoma State won a tough recruiting battle with Big 12 foe TCU for Carter's services and the Dallas product is ranked as a four-star prospect by ESPN and Scout, while Rivals gave him three stars. Rivals ranked Carter as the No. 35 overall player in the state of Texas. His high school team struggled in 2013 but that didn't stop him from putting up crazy individual numbers with 89 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and 15 sacks. Carter is another incoming Poke with an impressive offer list, including Arizona State, Arkansas, Miami, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Washington State and the previously mentioned Horned Frogs.
"Trey is a young man that moved from Louisiana to Dallas so he's a little bit unknown. He came to our camp this summer and did very well. We project him to be a very big kid. He's a guy that's going to come in and start out as a defensive end and very easily move inside once he gets into Coach Glass's program and puts on some mass." - Clements
TE – Jordan Frazier (6-5, 230) Springfield, Mo. (Lighthouse Christian Academy)
It's been a while since Oklahoma State went after a tight end and this could signal a shift in the Cowboys' offensive approach for the near future. In fact, this is the first tight end OSU has signed out of high school in five years. Frazier has good size and adequate speed with a 4.7 40 to be a productive target for the Cowboys down the line. He is a three-star prospect according to ESPN and earned two stars from Scout and Rivals. He chose Oklahoma State over offers from Illinois, Indiana and Florida Atlantic and garnered interest from several big-name programs, including Wisconsin, USC and Alabama.
"Jordan is a matchup nightmare for most defenses. He's a guy that can line up as a patch tight end and he can also flex out so we can split him out in the slot." - Yurcich
OG – Lemaefe Galea'i (6-5, 317) Euless, Texas (Trinity HS)
Galea'i comes to the Cowboys from Texas high school powerhouse Euless Trinity and he is a tank at 6-foot-5 and nearly 320 pounds and doesn't shy away from contact. He is a little all over the place in the projects, being ranked anywhere from two stars to four stars, and most detractors consider him a bit of a project who needs to add muscle and lose fat from his frame. On the positive end, he is considered an intelligent player with a great understanding of blocking schemes and he has a winner's mentality. He chose Oklahoma State over offers from Baylor, BYU and Utah State.
"We're really excited about him and what he can bring to us, not only from a depth perspective, but he's got a very high ceiling and he's one of those guys that you can project playing at the next level. He's a guy that's going to be an immediate improvement up front for us at the offensive line." - Yurcich
CB – Chris Hardeman (5-9, 178) Houston, Texas (Alief Taylor HS)
Hardeman is the second highly-regarded prospect from Alief Taylor to join the Pokes, along with Keenen Brown. What Hardeman might lack in ideal size, he makes up for in instincts and quickness, as well as being extremely physical for his build. Hardeman doesn't have elite top-end speed with a 4.58 40 but he plays fast and has a knack for being around the football and is equally effective in man or zone coverage. Hardeman is considered a four-star by Scout and ESPN, while ESPN ranks him the No. 41 prospect in Texas. He selected OSU over offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA and many more.
"He's a guy who is going to play corner for us, but he's also a guy who has great return ability – he runs track. If I had to compare him to somebody we just had in the program, it'd be Brodrick Brown." - Cornerbacks coach Van Malone
S – Dylan Harding (6-2, 190) Jenks, Okla. (Jenks HS)
Harding comes to OSU from Oklahoma high school juggernaut Jenks and has great size, strength and speed to play safety in the Big 12 and has room to grow. Harding boasts a 4.35 40, according to Rivals, and has a reported vertical leap of 34 inches, making him a great asset against downfield-oriented offenses. Harding is ranked as a three-star prospect by Scout and ESPN and is considered the No. 36 safety prospect in the country by ESPN. He picked OSU over offers from Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa State, North Carolina, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Washington State, etc.
"One thing that sticks out about Dylan is the storied program of Jenks. Back-to-back state champions and he obviously played a big part in the team's success. I think he's an All-State player this year and Tulsa World All-Metro First-Team. He's just a tremendous kid—very versatile." - Safeties coach Tim Duffie
RB – Tyreek Hill (5-9, 185) Garden City, Kan. (Garden City C.C.)
Hill might prove to be the top player to come out of this year's class. Hill might be small, but similar to former WVU star Tavon Austin, he is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands. His acceleration, balance and breakaway speed make him a game-breaking type player in OSU's spread offense and is regarded by many as the No. 1 overall player coming out of the junior college ranks. He started at running back at Garden City C.C. but could slide over to Josh Stewart's vacated spot in the slot. He could also take over for Justin Gilbert in the return game. Hill has sub-4.4 speed and, as some scouts have projected, could prove to be the fastest player in the Big 12 next year. He is ranked as a five-star prospect by Scout and is a four star, according to Rivals and ESPN. He is already on campus at OSU and will participate in spring ball after picking the Cowboys over Alabama, Florida State, Texas, Arizona State, Baylor, OU, Oregon and USC, among others.
"Tyreek has tremendous explosion and he's very fast. I think his 200-meter time was a 20.14. He's a guy that we have to get the ball to and he's a guy that we're really excited about. He came in mid-year and will really be ready to go with spring ball, so we'll know what he has there. He's very dynamic and could play a couple different spots for us." - Yurcich
WR – Chris Lacy (6-3, 190) DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto HS)
Lacy is another big target for the Cowboys at the wide receiver position and is considered a three-star prospect by every major recruiting outlet. He only has average speed, approximately in the 4.6 range, but is considered to be extremely strong and has reliable hands and precise route-running ability. Rivals ranks Lacy as the No. 76 prospect in Texas. Lacy chose Oklahoma State over offers from Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Kansas and Arizona State.
"Chris is a very strong receiver and a very well-rounded receiver. He can go across the middle. He's a vertical deep threat as well and I think he had 60 catches this year. He's a tough, physical receiver. Chris has a very bright future in what we do." - Yurcich
ILB – Josh Mabin (6-2, 227) Spring, Texas (Klein Oak HS)
Mabin could make his way onto the field early in his career in Stillwater thanks to his strong build and impressive instincts from the middle linebacker position. He has adequate speed and a nose for the football, proving exceptional in run-stopping situations. He also has a reputation as a big hitter, which might need to be toned down at the collegiate level. Mabin is a four-star prospect, according to ESPN, which ranks him the No. 39 player in Texas and the No. 13 inside linebacker in America. He received three-star recognition from Scout and Rivals. Mabin picked OSU over Baylor, Boise State, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Oklahoma and Washington State.
"Josh came from a very successful high school program with good high school coaches. I offered Josh a long time ago. He was probably one of the three or four young men that we identified after their sophomore year as being an offer-worthy kid. It was a battle with him. A lot of schools wanted him down there. He is an inside linebacker who is very intense. He'll strike you. He has what I call collision speed. I think he has great instincts for a linebacker. Also, he plays with good pad level in a position where we needed some quick help. We're losing some good players and he's going to be in that group that will be competing for the next few years." - Spencer
OL – Matthew Mucha (6-6, 250) Houston, Texas (Clear Lake HS)
Mucha is a project who figures to be a redshirt candidate as he attempts to add needed size to compete at the FBS level. He projects as an offensive tackle and is particularly strong in pass protection thanks to his quickness but he needs refinement in several areas. Mucha is considered a three-star prospect by all thee recruiting services and Rivals considers him a top-100 prospect in Texas. He chose OSU over Air Force, Houston, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, Nevada, SMU, Texas Tech, Central Florida and Utah.
"He possesses the ability to play tackle and to be the quarterback's backside protector. He is very well-rounded and he can run block you or drive block you. At 6'6" to be able to drive block you and come off the ball and have that low pad level, that's something you don't see from every kid coming out of high school." - Yurcich
OG – Deionte' Noel (6-3, 300) Cibolo, Texas (Steele HS)
Noel gives the Cowboys a big-bodied guard who excels at run-blocking. He's seen as a prospect who will need a little work with strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass but has the potential to jump in the offensive line rotation early in his college career. Noel is a three-star recruit on ESPN and Scout and a two-star on Rivals. He was committed to Texas Tech until signing day when he made the switch to OSU and also drew offers from Boise State, Houston and Rice.
CB – Juwan Offrey (6-0, 165) New Orleans, La. (Edna Karr HS)
Offrey comes to OSU with solid size and competitive speed (4.5) to potentially break into the defensive back rotation early. Offray is considered a consensus three-star prospect and top-30 Louisiana player who boasts great instincts and reaction skills. He could be a situational player as a freshman in Stillwater. Offrey had a limited offer list but built up a lot of interest late in the game before picking the Pokes over Nebraska and South Alabama.
"Juwan Offray hails from New Orleans. What we've tried to do in the last couple of recruiting classes is make inroads into New Orleans. He is going to play corner for us, but then will also provide, especially early in his career, big-time depth on special teams." - Malone
DE – Jarrell Owens (6-3, 235) Palestine, Texas (Palestine HS)
Owens is an extremely athletic defensive end who switched late in the recruiting process to OSU from TCU. He earned four-star recognition from Scout and three-star accolades from Rivals as a DE. Rivals considers Owens the No. 18 defensive end in the country and the No. 34 player in Texas. However, ESPN projects Owens as a running back, where he also had significant success in high school. ESPN ranks him as a three star at running back. Owens picked Oklahoma State over offers from TCU, Louisiana-Monroe and Texas Tech, among others.
RB – Sione Palelei (5-10, 200) Gonzales, La. (East Ascension HS)
Oklahoma State hasn't had a ton of recruiting success with running backs the past few seasons but that has changed this year. Palelei could prove to be a big-time get for the Cowboys after coach Gundy and Co. were able to lure him away from his previous commitment to LSU. He is a consensus three-star prospect who doesn't seem to have many weaknesses. He has good size, strength and speed with reportedly excellent vision and solid second-level speed. He is also an outstanding receiver out of the backfield. In addition to LSU, he also entertained offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, BYU, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Pitt, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Utah, among others, before choosing Oklahoma State.
"We're excited for him, a young man that was previously committed to LSU and decided that Oklahoma State felt like home to him. He is a player with speed, quickness and hands." - Running Backs coach Jemal Singleton
LB – Justin Phillips (5-11, 210) Pearland, Texas (Pearland HS)
Phillips doesn't have ideal size or speed for an linebacker but he was consistently productive in high school and has excellent tackling form. He has a lot of intangibles working in his favor but will need to benefit greatly from Oklahoma State's strength and conditioning program to work his way into the linebacker rotation. He could project as a redshirt candidate. He was ranked as a consensus three-star recruit and is regarded as the No. 99 prospect in Texas by Rivals. He chose the Cowboys over offers from Baylor, Boise State, Colorado, Iowa State and Northwestern.
"Justin was another young man that we identified early out of Pearland, Texas. We had him in camp down in Texas a couple years ago and I loved the way he competed, loved the way he looked on grass moving around in cover skills and then when I followed that up with seeing a couple of games his junior year, I was sold on him. We got on Justin really early and thankfully so because a lot of other schools tried to come in late on him and tried to get in on him." - Spencer
ATH – Ramon Richards (6-0, 180) San Antonio, Texas (Brackenridge HS)
Richards could project at a number of positions at Oklahoma State but most recruiting analysts feel he is best suited as a defensive back at the FBS level; he could also end up at running back or wide receiver. Richards is an old-school, under-the-radar pickup for Mike Gundy's staff and doesn't didn't show up much on the recruiting scene. He worked his way up to three-star recognition from ESPN and Scout with a solid senior campaign. He is very intelligent and has 4.5 speed and a 225-pound bench press. Richards chose OSU over offers from Houston, Rice, Sam Houston State, Yale and Harvard.
"Ramon is an athlete who comes to us because he played quarterback, but played just a little bit of defensive back in his high school career. What he has is great ability with the ball in his hands, just like what we used to watch with Justin Gilbert, so that excites us. He's going to be a work in progress learning the defensive back side of the game. He'll start out at corner, but has the ability to play at both positions." - Malone
ATH – Trey Roberts (6-1, 190) Houston, Texas (Dwight D Eisenhower HS)
Roberts is another athlete who could play several positions at the next level. Most believe him to be suited as a cornerback or a safety. Roberts is a three-star prospect, according to all recruiting outlets. He was a jack-of-all trades for Eisenhower as a senior, spending time at running back, quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back. Roberts chose Oklahoma State over offers from SMU and Utah.
"Tre's a kid who played quarterback in high school with very minimal defensive back play on high school video. But he has good size for the position and good speed. He is a kid that we think will start out at safety for us." - Malone
QB – Mason Rudolph (6-4, 215) Rock Hill, S.C. (Northwestern HS)
Rudolph is one of the gems in this year's haul and could be in contention for the Cowboys' starting quarterback role as a true freshman. He has ideal size and arm strength and is a capable runner despite being pegged as a pocket passer. Rudolph is considered a four-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN and is considered a top-10 quarterback recruit nationally by both services. Rudolph had a ridiculous senior season, leading his team to a state title and a 15-0 record in South Carolina's largest classification. He completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 4,377 yards and 64 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. He also had 16 rushing touchdowns, giving him 80 touchdowns as a senior. The popular opinion on Rudolph is that he would have been ranked even higher if he'd participated in any national quarterback camps in front of scouts. He chose OSU over Louisville, LSU, Ole Miss, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"We feel great about Mason and were able to win a quarterback in him that really brings all of the characteristics you want to see in a quarterback; all of the intangibles. He's got tremendous statistics to back that up. (Rudolph's high school) coach runs a very similar system to what we do here at Oklahoma State. Mason's very familiar with that offense and feels real comfortable throwing the ball down the field and gets it out really well. He spins the ball tremendously. On top of all the physical skills that Mason has he is a tremendous leader as well." - Yurcich
P – Zach Sinor (6-0, 190) Castroville, Texas (Medina Valley HS)
Sinor projects as a punter in college. Sinor, like most specialists, wasn't followed closely on the recruiting trail but Oklahoma State has a long track record with identifying strong kicking talent in the high school ranks. He was an all-district performer and averaged 44.5 yards per punt as a junior. Oklahoma State was Sinor's only scholarship offer but he received interest from Iowa State, Texas A&M and Tulsa.
"He has an amazing skill set of being able to down people, directionally kick, pooch punt and some of those things that we really need our punter to be able to do." - Singleton
Devon Thomas (5-11, 210) Broken Arrow, Okla. (Broken Arrow HS)
Thomas was one of Oklahoma State's earliest commitments and remains one of its best. Thomas is ranked by Rivals as the No. 6 player in Oklahoma and he earned four-star recognition from ESPN and Scout, who both consider him a top-20 national player at his position. He has struggled with injuries but has the measurable and well-rounded game to be a high-end contributor in the Big 12. Thomas has a reported sub-4.5 40 and excellent lateral quickness and power. He's the total package if he can shake off the injury bug. Thomas graduated early from Broken Arrow and enrolled at OSU for the spring semester. He chose the Cowboys over offers from Clemson, Houston, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
"He's got a unique blend of size and speed. We're extremely excited to have him from just up the road. He's a hometown kid who's going to get the chance to play in our backfield and do some great things for Oklahoma State." - Singleton
S – Kirk Tucker (6-1, 185) Tucker, Georgia (Tucker HS)
Tucker is a late addition to the class after he failed to qualify academically for Stanford, where he had previously been committed. Tucker is considered a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and ESPN and is regarded as the No. 35 safety in the country by Rivals. He has an ideal frame to add bulk, which could even result in an eventual shift to outside linebacker should the defensive staff so choose. He has strong coverage skills, lateral quickness and route awareness, along with a reputation as being a reliable tackler in the open field. He chose the Pokes over offers from Stanford, Arkansas, UConn, East Carolina, Indiana, Kansas State, Louisville, North Carolina, N.C. State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Central Florida and Vanderbilt.
"He kind of fits the mold of that star linebacker that we've had in the past with Andre Sexton and Shaun Lewis. He's a safety/outside linebacker and the first thing that jumps out at you on film is his blitz skills and he's a very aggressive player." - Spencer
DE – Cole Walterscheid (6-6, 210) Muenster, Texas (Muenster HS)
He has a lean build at this point but has plenty of room to add weight to his 6-foot-6 frame without sacrificing his 4.7 speed. He is currently better at stopping the run than he is in the pass rush but his ability to get past tackles on the edge should improve as he adds muscle. He could also project as a tight end at the FBS level. Walterscheid is a consensus three-star prospect and chose OSU over offers from Baylor, Boise State, North Texas, SMU, Texas-San Antonio and UTEP.
"Cole's a very tall, long and full-of-range football player. The thing with Cole is that he's going to have to put on some weight to play at this level. The reason I like Cole is because of his competitiveness. He goes straight from football, takes a day off then goes into basketball, takes a day off then joins the baseball team and competes in track, takes a day off and then he's in summer league. He's a young guy that never stops." - Clements
WR – James Washington (5-11, 180) Stamford, Texas (Stamford HS)
This three-star wide out comes to OSU in the Josh Stewart mold with a small frame but plenty of athletic ability and speed. Washington has reported 4.4 speed and a 38-inch vertical leap, which should benefit him nicely in a slot receiver role. He has a reputation has a precise route runner and is rumored to be incredibly tough to bring down despite his size. Washington locked in on the Cowboys early, which limited his offers as a senior, but he chose OSU over offers from Houston, TCU, Texas and Texas State.
"What he brings to the table is great leaping ability. He is able to go up and he's got a tremendous vertical jump." - Yurcich
DT – Joyan Williams (6-3, 260) New Orleans, La. (Edna Karr HS)
Williams is OSU's third signee in this class from Louisiana and the second from Edna Karr High School. Williams has solid speed for an interior defensive lineman with a timed 4.84 40-yard dash. He has excellent upper-body strength but could stand to add some bulk in order to make a consistent impact. Williams is a consensus three-star prospect and Rivals' No. 25 prospect in the state of Louisiana. Oklahoma State earned his signature over offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Missouri, Southern Miss and Tulsa.
"We brought him up to camp and he performed at a very high level. He was kind of an under-the-radar type player. I think his ceiling is exceptionally high." - Clements
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