On Wednesday, Oklahoma State received signed National Letters of Intent from 18 members of their 2020 class. While it included a day-of commitment from a linebacker, there wasn’t a lot of drama. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things we can talk about.
The Strength of the Class is Offensive Line
Yes, Shane Illingworth is the second highest rated quarterback signee of the Mike Gundy era (JW Walsh, …..), but where this class really shines is on the offensive line.
Not only are two of the top three players in the class linemen, but Trent Pullen and Eli Russ are the two highest graded lineman Oklahoma State has signed this decade, and it’s honestly not really close.
Oklahoma State has been working to rebuild it’s offensive line ever since 2013, and while it’s gotten a lot better since then, it’s been a long time since the offensive lines of the early Gundy era.
But a ton of credit to offensive line coach Charlie Dickey in his first year with the Cowboys; he brought in a haul. Along with Pullen and Russ, the Cowboys signed Cade Bennett out of Arizona and Monroe Mills out of Missouri.
I would be shocked if all four aren’t starters for the Cowboys within the next three years.
There are Immediate Impact Players
Let’s start with Korie Black, the three-star cornerback out of Waco, Texas. Oklahoma State will return only four scholarship corners next season, assuming redshirt junior Rodarius Williams doesn’t declare early for the NFL.
Even if Oklahoma State brings in a graduate transfer at corner (which they absolutely should), at least one of the three corners in the class — includes Jordan Reagan and Jabbar Muhammad, who plans to sign in February — is going to have to play. I think Black has the talent to do so.
There are a couple of others, but the one that will absolutely be playing game one is athlete Brennan Presley out of Bixby, Oklahoma. He may be smaller — 5-foot-7 1/2 and 160-pounds — but the dude was an absolute weapon. He’s listed as an receiver for OSU, but expect them to give him the ball all over the field, including the return game.
Obviously, that also means that Middleton, a three-star safety will at least be getting action on special teams early.
This is What Mike Gundy Does
Look. Let’s be real for a minute.
This recruiting class is not leading Oklahoma State to a National Championship. It won’t lead to them to a play-off berth. Hell, it might not even get them a Big 12 Championship game berth. But this is a talented group of players.
It’s got guys that are going to be a lot better than you think early, and guys that are going to develop into names you’ll remember forever.
But until Oklahoma State can find a way to increase their athletic department budget by about $20 million, this is kind of what you have to expect. It’s not perfect, and I absolutely think there are things Gundy could do to improve recruiting, but there aren’t many programs that evaluate talent and develop it like Oklahoma State.
The Social Media was… Underwhelming
Social media matters in recruiting. Looking good, awesome graphics, jaw-dropping videos. They’re all part of a school’s brand, it’s identity, and is a major part of the recruiting process.
Oklahoma State is light years ahead of where they were just three or four years ago. But after a pretty cool “Red Dead Redemption” style Signing Day graphic look, this year’s was… okay.
It’s not bad. The effects are well done. The links lead to some neat info and videos. But when you’re comparing that to, say, Legos, or puppets, or comic book covers, or individually designed logos for each signee, OSU’s just felt a bit lackluster.
The graphic and social media team at OSU do really good work. But they’re going to have to step up they’re game for next year.
The Cowboys Aren’t Done Yet
Oklahoma State currently has 18 signees and one commit — Muhammad — who plans to sign in February.
After that though, who knows. I don’t foresee more than maybe one more high school prospect, if OSU can land a defensive tackle replacement for the one they lost or a running back. But that doesn’t mean they’re done.
The Cowboys are in need of immediate help at cornerback for 2020, and I would be shocked if they didn’t turn to the transfer market for it.
While they return a lot on the defensive line, adding a transfer like Collin Clay would only bolster the position.
And then there are the holes we don’t know yet. More guys might decide to transfer. Players may decide to leave early for the NFL draft. Or the team may enter Spring Ball and the coaching staff may feel they need to add some depth to a position or two (my money is on the offensive line).
Whatever the case, I would expect OSU to spend three to four more of their six remaining scholarships for the 2020 class.