STILLWATER -- This Cowboys recruiting class features all the obvious razzle-dazzle: two high profile quarterbacks, a four-star running back and a collection of big wide receivers.
What's missing: the expected prize piece on the defensive side, Booker T. Washington tackle Calvin Barnett, who pulled an 11th-hour commitment switch Wednesday to sign with Arkansas, stripping some of the shine from a class focused short-term on addressing defensive needs.
Barnett had been a long-time Cowboys commit dating nearly six months back, yet sent out warning signs in recent weeks, culminating with a visit to Arkansas two weekends ago. Wednesday, rumors of his wavering became reality.
The fallout was a seismic shift, with OSU losing the top-ranking prospect in its class, the Razorbacks gaining theirs. And it comes at a position scarce on elite talent and a position where the Cowboys are already thin.
For any OSU fans on the brink of hyperventilating, there's this bit of consolation: Barnett is considered an academic risk who faces a possible stint at junior college.
OSU coach Mike Gundy wouldn't discuss Barnett's defection specifically, yet lamented the loss of any player late in the process.
"There's a lot of time and effort that goes into recruiting these young men," Gundy said. "We work with a limited number of scholarships. Once we hit that max and whatever we're going to bring in, we're in a very delicate position to continue to recruit other players.
"That's the most difficult issue. Essentially, once you're full, you're full and you're not recruiting anyone else. And if you do lose a player late, whoever that may be, wherever they're from, the chance of replacing them is not very good."
If Gundy was upset over Barnett's defection, it didn't show during his press conference to discuss the class.
He and his staff added 27 players ï¿½ four of whom are already on campus ï¿½ for a group that still ranks among the nation's Top 20 according to Scout.com.
And it bears the fingerprints of defensive coordinator Bill Young, who had his first real chance to add his style of players with a full year on campus.
Of the 27 recruits, at least 14 are on the defensive side, with more offering the flexibility of a potential position shift. And despite the loss of Barnett, there are clear headliners, including linebackers Shaun Lewis, Caleb Lavey and Stephen Maeweather, cornerback Malcolm Murray and tackles Chris Littlehead and Diamonte Wheeler, who now draw the attention and the pressure to perform when it comes to the future of the defensive front.
"Defensively is where we signed a majority of the numbers," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "We were looking for a lot of defensive back-type skill players, corners, safeties, because we graduated a number of those guys.
"Defensive line, I would say that most coaches would tell you, when you can get defensive linemen, you have to take them. It's hard to find big guys who can run."
Following the loss of senior Zac Robinson, the Cowboys restocked at quarterback with the additions of Sand Springs' Johnny Deaton and Nathan Sorenson of Texarkana, Texas. OSU added just one running back, yet Joseph Randle is a four-star prospect out of Wichita, Kan., who Gundy considers an ideal fit for the offense of new coordinator Dana Holgorsen.