Here's how Oklahoma State is addressing its most pressing recruiting need: Signing five — that's right, five — defensive tackles today.
And James Castleman of Amarillo could end up being the best of the bunch.
A 6-foot-4, 280 pound defensive tackle, Castleman is billed as an explosively athletic defensive tackle versatile enough to also play end.
could bring explosive athleticism to the defensive interior for OSU. A three-star recruit on Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com, he has the versatility to play defensive tackle or defensive end.
“From a physical standpoint, I don't think I've ever coached a better down lineman,” Amarillo coach Mel Maxfield said. “And I don't know that I'll ever coach one better.”
Rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals, Scout and ESPN, Castleman is also a three-sport star in high school. He's one of the best basketball players in Amarillo and is an all-district shot-putter.
“He's a well rounded athlete,” Maxfield said. “He's the most athletic bigger built kids I've ever been around.”
OSU is also expected to sign defensive tackles Maurice Hayes of Bakersfield (Calif.) junior college, Texas high-schoolers Ashaad Mabry of San Antonio MacArthur, Mike Mustafa of Katy Faith West Academy and Alex Villareal of Hidalgo.
As for Castleman, he will arrive in Stillwater with a reputation for explosiveness that in high school helped him shed blockers while creating havoc in opposing backfields.
“His explosive first three steps, especially his first step, I think that's what gives him an advantage,” Maxfield said.
Castleman, who de-committed from Texas Tech to commit to the Pokes on Jan. 25, was a dominating force for Amarillo earning All-State honors twice in his career. Maxfield's words reveal the best-case scenario for Castleman's future in an OSU uniform.
“He played nose tackle for us, which entailed him being triple teamed,” Maxfield said. “He's such a team-first guy he didn't have gaudy stats but he freed up our other players to make a lot of plays.”
If Castleman can become an interior force for the Cowboys that requires double teams, he could make a big difference on the defensive line — and a big impact on the defense's overall success — during his OSU career.
“I think he has more room (to grow),” Maxfield said. “I don't think he's flattened out (peaked) in any form or fashion.”