STILLWATER — Oklahoma State spent the weekend entertaining Laquon Treadwell, the No. 1 wide receiver recruit in the nation.
“Great visit in Stilly,” Treadwell posted on his Twitter account Sunday. “Had so much fun with a lot of great people. Really enjoyed my time.”
Treadwell's decision between OSU, Mississippi and Oklahoma comes Thursday. But Treadwell's continued courtship by the Cowboys — and his continued interest in OSU — shows the staff's ability to keep recruiting offensive skill players after the departure of coordinator Todd Monken.
The reason for that is simple: OSU is sticking to its Air Raid spread system.
“What's important over the last few years that we've been in this situation (hiring a new coordinator) is we're not going to change what we do on offense,” coach Mike Gundy said following the Heart of Dallas Bowl. “… Our principles and philosophies are going to stay the same.”
Three of OSU's four four-star commitments are wide receivers, including Fred Ross (Tyler, Texas), Marcell Ateman (Wylie, Texas) and Ra'Shaad Samples (Dallas, Texas). The other is Jerel Morrow, an “athlete” from Emporia, Kan. who could also wind up at receiver.
OSU's spread-it-out, fling-it-around attack is, simply, fun for wide receivers to play. And it puts them in position to produce gaudy numbers.
The system, which was first installed by Dana Holgorsen in 2010, helped propel Justin Blackmon to superstar status, as he captured back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards and became a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft.
That's attractive to recruits, no matter who is calling the plays.
“He never wavered (after Monken left),” said Ricklan Holmes, Ross' high school coach. “Whoever they bring in to replace Monken, in reality, we all know who runs that offense. So as long as the main piece (Gundy) stays there, the offense stays the same.”
The Cowboys did lose quarterback Luke Del Rio after Monken left to become the head coach at Southern Miss. But Del Rio's family has a personal connection to Monken because of the time Monken spent on the staff of Luke's father, Jack, when he was the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Who Gundy hires as the Cowboys' new offensive coordinator remains a mystery for now. But the Air Raid is here to stay.
And that's enough to keep elite offensive prospects like Treadwell intrigued.
Direction of the class
Here are five players who signal the direction of Oklahoma State's 2013 recruiting class:
Fred Ross, WR, Tyler, Texas (John Tyler): One of three four-star receiver recruits according to Rivals.com, the group signals the Cowboys' continued emphasis on getting top talent at the offensive skill positions — and they aren't finished, with other prime athletes still in their sights.
Corion Webster, RB, Atlanta, Texas: Not as big as Joseph Randle, but cut from the same mold as an all-purpose back, showing OSU's desire to have versatile running backs.
Sam Wren, DE, Palestine, Texas (Arizona Western CC): Seeking immediate depth at defensive end, the Cowboys snagged Wren and early high school graduate Naim Mustafaa, who are already on campus to go through spring workouts.
Zachary Crabtree, OL, Mansfield, Texas: At 6-foot-7, Crabtree is the tallest of OSU's five O-line prospects — but barely. Offensive line coach Joe Wickline put together a class full of tall and physical blockers.
Tre Flowers, S, Converse, Texas (Judson): Flowers was the third commit added at safety, a position where the Cowboys stand to lose several players after the 2013 season, so building young depth was a strong focus.