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From 2-star to Youtube sensation

by John Helsley Published: May 12, 2011

 

by Brandon Chatmon
bchatmon@opubco.com
Follow me on Twitter @BChatmon

One of the main reasons for Oklahoma State’s recent rise has been quality evaluation on the recruiting trail. Running back Kendall Hunter, a two-time All-American, was a hidden gem out of Tyler, Texas and 2010 Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon was an overlooked prospect out of Plainview High School in Ardmore.

I decided to review recent OSU recruiting classes because it gives you a better feel for where the players you will see making plays on Saturdays this fall came from. And it makes it easier to understand recruiting is a full of unknowns so assuming an elite recruit will become an elite playmaker is fool’s gold, especially once you get past the players who are simply freaks of nature with sheer physical ability which is unmatched.

Here’s a look back at OSU’s recruiting Class of 2008 with a detailed look at each recruit, their ranking when they arrived on campus and their production or potential in the three years since joining the program. (I’ll break the class into several different blogs in the next few days)

Overall class rankings

Rivals ranking: #26

Scout ranking: #40

ESPN.com ranking: unranked. Given a C in overall grades in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M and Missouri.

Recruits

Brodrick Brown, cornerback

Rivals ranking: 3 stars

Scout ranking: 2 stars

Other offers: interest from Houston, Nebraska, Oregon State, Rice and UTEP.

Impact on the program: After a redshirt season and being injured for much of 2009, Brown started the Cotton Bowl after Perrish Cox’s suspension and showed flashes of playmaking potential. Brown was very solid in 2010 and finished second on the team with 77 tackles. His competitive nature makes him a cornerstone of OSU’s defense.

Analysis: In only two seasons on the field Brown has already surpassed expectations. He could become a three-year starter, not what you expect from a two-star recruit. Another example of good evaluation, particularly because Brown has excelled thanks to his competitiveness and will, things which are hard to evaluate.

 

DeJuan Davis, offensive line/defensive line

Rivals ranking: 2 stars

Scout ranking: 2 stars

Other offers: None.

Impact on the program: Davis has bounced back and forth between defensive line and offensive line during his time. He hasn’t made an impact in games to this point in his career.

Analysis: OSU’s offensive line situation is better than it has been in years. It’s hard to know how much of Davis’ lack of an impact is due to the talent around him. He was a sleeper prospect when OSU took him… sometimes those risks pay off, sometimes the don’t. Davis still has two seasons to prove he was a risk worth taking.

 

Chris Donaldson, defensive tackle

Rivals ranking: 3 stars

Scout ranking: 3 stars

Other offers: Interest from Tennessee.

Impact on the program: Without Donaldson, the Cowboys’ 11-2 season in 2010 would have been significantly harder. His statistics were not eye-popping but he played a lot of plays as a senior and helped keep teams from really attacking OSU’s interior defense. He was also solid in spot duty in 2009.

Analysis: Donaldson did what he was recruited to do out of Coffeyville Community College. He helped provide production in the defensive interior. If OSU could consistently recruit one or two Chris Donaldsons per class, I think they’d be pretty happy.

 

Alfred Dupree, linebacker

Rivals ranking: 3 stars

Scout ranking: 4 stars

Other offers: Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and others.

Impact on the program: Dupree spent the 2009 season at Navarro Community College but was not listed on the 2010 roster.

Analysis: A highly regarded signee who never made it to campus.

 

Jeremy Gray, defensive end

Rivals ranking: 3 stars

Scout ranking: 3 stars

Other offers: Louisville, Texas A&M, Purdue, North Texas and others.

Impact on the program: Spent one redshirt season on the roster then left the program reportedly because he didn’t want to play football anymore (I wasn’t covering OSU when he left so I didn’t report on his departure).

Analysis: One of the toughest things in recruiting has nothing to do with evaluating a player’s talent. Getting a feel for how much they care about football and their inner drive to be great is extremely difficult in the limited time coaches get to know a player so I have a hard time holding his decision not to play anymore against the coaches.

 

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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