Now that Oklahoma State's 2013 recruiting class is in the books, it's time to take an in-depth look at what coach Mike Gundy referred to as his best class yet.
Biggest Need Met: Running Back
With Joseph Randle's decision to enter the 2013 NFL Draft coupled with last season's dismissal of Herschel Sims from the team and missing out on Barry J. Sanders in last year's recruiting period, OSU now found itself rather thin in the backfield. With the new-found need at the position, the coaching staff did a good job securing its future. Corion Webster, a 5-foot-11 speedster from Atlanta, Texas, has been a long-term OSU commitment and chose the Cowboys over an impressive list of offers from Arkansas, Texas A&M, TCU, etc. and was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN. He is in a similar mold from a style and build standpoint to Randle. Then Mike Gundy and Co. added Rennie Childs late in the process to really ease the blow. Childs is a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder who is also similar to Randle and Dantrell Savage. Childs, a three-star prospect from Cypress Ridge HS in Houston, rushed for 1,945 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior, building a ton of late interest in the recruiting process.
Biggest Need Missed: Linebacker
This wasn't necessarily a ‘need' but OSU didn't have many – outside of running back – this offseason. That said, after experiencing a ton of recent success on the recruiting trail with ‘backers, OSU only signed one and it was extremely late in the process. The signee is Dawson Bassett, the younger brother of former Cowboy Cooper Bassett, who was lightly regarded and Oklahoma State was his lone scholarship offer.
Instant Impact: WR – Ra'Shaad Samples; DE - Naim Mustafaa
This is always the hardest thing to project on signing day and many players could fit this bill, including kicker Ben Grogan, receiver Marcell Ateman, defensive end Sam Wren or any number of the Pokes' sizable collection of defensive backs. But in this case, we'll go with slot receiver Ra'Shaad Samples and defensive end Naim Mustafaa. Samples, a consensus four-star recruit, was one of the most heavily recruited wide outs in America with well over 30 offers, including Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Texas A&M, USC, Ole Miss, West Virginia, Kansas State, etc. Samples is a little small at 5-10, 170-pounds but is a perfect fit for playing time as a backup to Josh Stewart at one of OSU's inside receiver positions because of his elite quickness and route-running skills. Mustafaa was a huge steal from the University of Georgia out of SEC country. He is a speed rusher with a full spring and summer is OSU's strength program to build on his 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame. He has a chance to be special and was offered by nearly every southern power, including Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, etc. Expect to see both on the field early next season.
Biggest Surprise: DT - Ofa Hautau
This was a pretty easy one to select because he was the only signing day addition to the class. Hautau is a three-star defensive tackle from Snow College, which went 11-1 and finished ranked No. 3 in the country. Hautau is a load at 6-foot-2, 295-pounds and commanded constant double teams as a key cog on one of the nation's top defenses. He was the conference defensive player of the year with 41 tackles, five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He chose the Pokes over offers from Oregon State, Utah, Utah State and Hawaii on Feb. 6.
Biggest Disappointment: Tyler John Tyler Duo
This could easily have to Laquon Treadwell, the nation's No. 1 overall wide receiver, who flirted with the Cowboys before choosing Ole Miss. It could also go to Ogbonnia Okoronwu, a stud defensive end who was committed to OSU for months before deciding to switch to the rival Sooners. But instead, we will go with the Tyler John Tyler High School tandem of Fred Ross and Tyus Bowser. The high school teammates were both committed to OSU at one point but Bowser, a three-star defensive end, flipped to Houston in late January. And then there's Ross, a four-star wide receiver who was one of the gems of the OSU class. Ross had been committed to OSU since the summer but switched to Mississippi State the night before signing day.
Sleeper Alert: OL- Jack Kurzu
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline and the Pokes have had tremendous fortune with o-linemen from Missouri over the past decade and Kurzu has a chance to be the best of the bunch. At 6-foot-4, 310-pounds, the St. Louis native was a little overlooked in the Show-Me State as a consensus three-star recruit. His injury-plagued senior season resulted in his only other scholarship offers coming from Ball State and Troy but he has elite size and is capable of playing center, left guard or right guard for the Pokes. That versatility could get him on the field sooner rather than later. OSU coaches rave about his intelligence and football IQ. They hope he follows in the footsteps of former Missouri products who ended up in Stillwater like Parker Graham, Andrew Lewis, etc.
Deepest Position: Defensive Backs
OSU did a lot of work in the trenches with five o-linemen and six d-linemen but in this case we'll go with the deepest position of need, which was the defensive backfield. The secondary has been a sore spot for the Pokes ever since Gundy took over as head coach. The Cowboys' DB haul has a very SEC-feel to it with all six standing 6-feet or taller. Safety Tre Flowers is the tallest at 6'3 with corners Taylor Lewis and Jerel Morrow both coming in at 6-feet. The nicest part of that is that they didn't sacrifice speed for size, as all six run in the 4.5's or faster. This collection will be good for instant depth and could produce several future starters. The headliners of the group are Morrow, who was the No. 1 overall recruit in Kansas, and 6-ffot-1, 190-pound corner Darius Curry, who was considered one of the elite DB prospects in the south and was offered by Georgia Tech, Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina, Penn State and others.
Overall Grade: A-
This is a hard class to grade. It's relatively low on star power, especially when you consider the elite skill-position prospects the Cowboys missed out on late in the recruiting process. However, this is the exact type of class teams need to compete for conference titles. It's deep across the board and is heavy on skilled linemen on both sides of the ball, with six on defense and five on offense. Also encouraging was the SEC-style trend of big defensive backs. The Pokes did address offensive skill position talent where it was needed most with two three-star running backs and also added two extremely highly-regarded wide receivers at an already loaded position.
• OSU got the bulk of its recruiting done in the Lone Star State, signing 17 players from Texas.
• Speaking of recruiting pipelines, Darius Curry and Naim Mustafaa are the latest Georgians to sign with the Cowboys. OSU has signed 14 players from The Peach State since 2006.
• Ten of OSU's 23 signees were rated four-star prospects by Rivals, Scout or ESPN.
• Two of Oklahoma State's signees are brothers of current or former players. Defensive back Darius Curry from Flowery Branch, Ga., is the brother of 2012 freshman wide receiver C.J. Curry, who was a highly-touted incomer last season who missed most of his freshman campaign with an injury. Dawson Bassett is the younger brother of 2012 OSU senior defensive end Cooper Bassett who started eight games this past season for the Pokes, totaling 21 tackles and two tackles for loss.
• Three of OSU signees are already on campus and taking classes this semester and will be able to participate in spring football. Offensive tackle Brandon Garrett and defensive end Sam Wren both transferred from junior college before the semester and freshman defensive end Naim Mustafaa is an early enrollee, as well.