Cowboys Recruit Areas Of Emphasis In 2015

Wednesday, February 4th 2015, 4:54 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma State didn't need a huge recruiting class in 2015. The Cowboys return eight starters on each side of the ball. Instead, Mike Gundy was looking to improve depth at specific positions, namely offensive line, defensive tackle, safety and running back. Here's a position-by-position breakdown of the 2015 recruiting class.

Quarterback – John Kolar out of Norman North is the next “Quarterback of the Future” following the Mason Rudolph era. Already on campus and taking classes, Kolar is the No. 3 pocket passer according to ESPN rankings. ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 4 star.

Running Back – The Cowboys desperately needed a running back in this class due to unexpected departures like Tyreek Hill's and the decommitment of Ronald Jones III. They first grabbed athlete Todd Mays (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) out of East Mississippi Community College and then added Jeff Carr (ESPN – NR, Scout – 2 star, Rivals – 2 star) from Temple High School in Texas. But the capstone of the class came when Butler Community College's Chris Carson flipped his commitment from Georgia to OSU the Monday before signing day. Carson (ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 4 star, Rivals – 3 star) is ready-made to carry the rock in the Cowboys backfield. Mays will play running back, slot receiver and even get some reps at quarterback and Carr is a player the staff thinks will be a star in a couple years.

Wide Receiver – With a bevy of experience receivers already in the barracks, Gundy added just one in the 2015 class: Jalen McCleskey. McCleskey (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) is a small, speedy receiver from the New Orleans area. Gundy compared him to Josh Stewart so he may become a factor on the return team before cracking the receiver depth chart.

Offensive Line – This was probably the biggest emphasis of the class. OSU pulled in three long-term guys in Johnny Wilson from Midland Christian High School in Texas (ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star), Vaimoe Sekona (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) and late addition Marcus Keyes (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 2 star, Rivals – 2 star), along with several immediate-impact linemen. Deya Mhiesen, Matt Kellerman, Brandon Pertile hail from the junior college ranks and Victor Salako transfers in from UAB. As a whole, this group is big. Real big. But Mhiesen and Salako are huge.

Defensive Line – Losing James Castleman and Ofa Hautau created a need to add defensive tackles asap and the Cowboys did well. Motekai Maile out of Tyler Junior College (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) and Taaj Bakari (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) were early commitments with Maile being the more-likely of the two to play early. Then defensive end Louis Brown (ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) flipped his commitment from Texas. End was definitely not a need this year for the Cowboys but they weren't about to turn down a player of Brown's quality at any position. Finally, defensive tackle Darrion Daniels (ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 4 star, Rivals – 4 star) picked OSU over Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Iowa, turning a good D-line crop into a great D-line crop. Daniels is the type of talent that could have an immediate impact up front as a freshman and is considered by some services as OSU's top recruit of 2015.

Secondary – Much needed secondary depth is on the way. Oklahoma State signed seven defensive backs in 2015. Kevin Henry (ESPN – 4 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) headlined the group but Gundy expects him to develop as a star-linebacker. Kenneth McGruder (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 4 star, Rivals – 3 star), Za'Carrius Green (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) and Bryce Balous (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 2 star) bring safety depth. Transfer safety Jordan Burton from Kilgore Junior College (ESPN – 3 star, Scout – 3 star, Rivals – 3 star) and corner Michael Hunter, a graduate transfer from Indiana will battle for playing time right away. Then there's Butler CC transfer Antwan Hadley, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound cornerback with good speed. Hadley is a specimen physically so it will be interesting to see if he can break into the corner rotation.