Analysis: OSU's 2009 recruiting class
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
2/03/09 at 3:18 PM
OSU beat writer Bill Haisten analyzes the 2009 Oklahoma State recruiting class:
When Mike Gundy became Oklahoma State’s head coach before the 2005 season, the Cowboys switched to a spread offense. Most spread offenses are defined by an extremely heavy reliance on passing, but OSU has been an exception. For three consecutive seasons, OSU has led the Big 12 in rushing.
The Gundy-coached Cowboys have rushed the football more effectively than any OSU teams since Pat Jones coached Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders during the ‘80s. Gundy’s commitment to a productive ground game is evident in OSU’s recruiting class of 2009. Of the top 15 running backs on Scout’s national ranking of prospects, OSU signed two of them – Jeremy Smith of Union High School and Dexter Pratt of Navasota (Texas) High School.
Gundy had predicted that his team’s 2008 success — a 7-0 start, a 9-4 final record and a position in the AP Top 25 for most of the season — would result in OSU attracting the attention of recruits outside of its usual Oklahoma-Texas territory. Gundy was correct. OSU signed high school recruits from Indiana (linebacker Jordan Barnes), Georgia (defensive ends David Paulsen and Ryan Robinson, linebacker LeRon Furr), Missouri (offensive lineman Parker Graham) and Arkansas (defensive end Anthony Rogers).
Since 2002, no OSU team has finished with a national total-defense ranking of better than 74th, and the Cowboys addressed that lingering problem by signing highly regarded linebackers Barnes and Furr, along with Daytawion Lowe, a four-star safety from Midwest City Carl Albert.
Enid’s Clint Chelf may emerge as Oklahoma State’s quarterback of the future, but offensive success begins up front. From a line that last season allowed only 15 sacks and paved the way for 245.5 rushing yards per game, the Cowboys lost two starters. After the 2010 season, OSU will lose three more linemen to graduation.
Line coach Joe Wickline begins the rebuilding process as the Cowboys sign four offensive linemen – four-star junior-college transfer Anthony Morgan (expected to start this year at right guard), along with high school prospects Brandon Webb of Owasso, Michael Bowie of Sand Springs and Parker Graham of Webb City, Mo.
The needs: By signing Morgan, Webb and Bowie, OSU sustains depth on the offensive line. Union running back Jeremy Smith and wide receiver Tracy Moore could develop into big-play performers. In that he had been committed to LSU only days earlier, signing running back Dexter Pratt was a tremendous bonus for OSU.
Headliner: QB Zac Robinson, OSU’s career leader in total offense, has only one remaining season of eligibility. Enid’s Clint Chelf is signed as the possible Robinson successor, and Chelf’s skill set is comparable to Robinson’s. In two seasons as Enid’s starting quarterback, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Chelf passed for 4,124 yards and 34 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,449 yards and 22 TDs.
Sleeper: Charlie Moore was a 6-foot-2, 200-pound quarterback at Bullard High School in east Texas, but likely will play wide receiver at OSU. As a prep senior, he had more than 3,000 yards of total offense.
Immediate impact: Offensive lineman Anthony Morgan is a four-star national junior-college prospect and, at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, the largest member of the OSU recruiting class. If Morgan doesn’t command a starting job this year, Cowboy coaches will be disappointed.
Against Oklahoma State last season, Texas and Texas Tech combined to complete 83 percent of their passes. During the Bedlam game in Stillwater, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford was not sacked or intercepted on 44 pass attempts. Primarily because of their inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks, the 2008 Cowboys finished with national rankings of 93rd in total defense and 109th in pass offense. Generating pressure is priority No. 1 for new OSU coordinator Bill Young, and that resulted in the signing of three linebackers (including Jordan Barnes of Ft. Wayne, Ind.) and four ends (including Anthony Rogers of North Little Rock, Ark.).
The needs: For several years, OSU has been starved for line depth. Anthony Rogers had offers from SEC schools but chose the Cowboys. He is listed at 235 pounds, but says he now is closer to 255. Darius Hart, at 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds, is rated as the nation’s No. 7 junior-college end prospect. The only true tackle signed by OSU is 295-pound Horace Hubbard out of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. OSU also needed linebacker depth as Andre Sexton, Patrick Lavine and Orie Lemon all will be seniors this year. The Cowboys signed two highly regarded LBs out of high school – Barnes and Furr.
Headliner: Daytawion Lowe, a four-star national recruit out of Midwest City Carl Albert, may have the skill set to become an All-Big 12 safety. He was a defensive, offensive and special-teams star at Carl Albert, and he is the highest-rated player among OSU’s defensive signees.
Sleeper: Joe Mitchell was a quarterback and a safety at Morton Ranch High School in Katy, Texas. He was rated by Scout.com as a two-star prospect. He’ll play in the secondary at OSU, and he’s a big safety at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds.
Immediate impact: OSU coaches need depth behind the senior linebackers, so Barnes and Furr will be given every opportunity to earn playing time as first-year freshmen. Barnes is known as being a big hitter. Furr, quoted by GoPokes.com, assesses his style of play by saying, “I’m a player who will fire off the ball . . . and hit you in the mouth.”
To read more about OSU football from beat writers Bill Haisten and Matt Doyle, go to the OSU page on Tulsa World's Sports Extra.
Clint Chelf of Enid