Recruiting an unpredictable business as top prospects pan out or bust
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
2/10/13 at 6:51 AM
The news of Fred Ross' decommitment on Signing Day Eve was a major disappointment to Oklahoma State fans who thought the four-star receiver would be the second coming of Dez Bryant.
Ross, a longtime pledge from John Tyler (Texas) and the highest-rated commit in the class, flipped to Mississippi State less than two weeks after telling the Tulsa World he was "solid" on his commitment to OSU.
But here's a case study that shows why Cowboy faithful shouldn't be down in the dumps: Hours before the 2010 Cotton Bowl pitting OSU and Ole Miss, No. 1 receiver prospect Darius White put on an orange Texas hat instead of an OSU one.
White, a five-star recruit from Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar, also considered Oklahoma before signing with the Longhorns.
The following two years, the Cowboys did OK without White at receiver. (See Justin Blackmon.)
But what happened to White?
As a freshman, he had five catches for 66 yards, including one for a touchdown at the end of a rout against Texas Tech.
His sophomore season didn't go much better. In 2012, he caught six passes for 71 yards.
Thus ended the Darius White Era in Austin. He chose to transfer to Missouri and sat out last year.
Perhaps Texas wasn't a good fit for White, or maybe he was overrated. No one knows how he would have fared as a Cowboy.
But recruiting is a tricky business, and every year top prospects wind up as busts. And every year, guys who were passed over become big-time surprises.
"We feel like we make them better," OSU coach Mike Gundy said on Signing Day. "... We take a two-star and make them a three, and a three and make them a four, and a four and make them a five."
Blackmon, for example, was a three-star with only a handful of college offers. He developed into a two-time Biletnikoff winner and a first-round NFL draft pick.
Ross might have been a playmaker for the Cowboys, but he reportedly chose the Bulldogs because of two cousins who live in Starkville. And he'll likely have less competition there. He is the only incoming Mississippi State four-star receiver, while OSU still has two: Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples.
"Both of these guys will fit in and have an opportunity to play in the first game," Gundy said.
A reputation as Wide Receiver U. - Rashaun Woods, D'Juan Woods, Adarius Bowman, Bryant and Blackmon in the past decade alone - makes OSU a desirable destination for top receivers. No. 1 prospect Laquon Treadwell also considered OSU before signing with Ole Miss last week.
"We are able to recruit wide receivers from a much larger area than we do in some of the other positions," Gundy said. "We have a number of young men that show a lot of interest in us and at some point it can work against you, but for the most part it works for us."
Original Print Headline: An unpredictable business
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452