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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys focusing on defensive backfield in recruiting

The Cowboys have four incoming defensive back recruits, and so far, OSU’s 2015 recruiting class indicates focus is staying on the defensive backfield.
By Cody Stavenhagen, Staff Writer Published: July 5, 2014

With Justin Gilbert, Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary gone, the Oklahoma State secondary is a serious question mark entering the 2014 season.

But the OSU coaching staff is taking steps on the recruiting trail to make sure that doesn’t last.

The Cowboys have four incoming defensive back recruits: Houston cornerback Chris Hardeman, Jenks safety Dylan Harding, New Orleans corner Juwan Offray and Georgia safety Kirk Tucker. Athletes Tre Roberts and Ramon Richards also will likely join the OSU secondary.

So far, OSU’s 2015 recruiting class indicates focus is staying on the defensive backfield.

The Cowboys have commitments from four-star cornerback Jaylon Lane and three-star safety Kenneth McGruder. OSU also made four-star prospect Xavier Lewis’ list of final schools along with Texas, LSU and Arkansas. He’s expected to announce his commitment next week.

In the case of the 6-foot-2, 203-pound McGruder, the opportunity to play right away was a big draw. OSU’s safety depth chart entering 2014 is unknown. Michigan transfer Josh Furman will likely come in and grab the strong safety spot, but that leaves sophomores Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns along with redshirt freshman Tre Flowers fighting at free safety. None stood out in the spring, and the case could be similar in 2015.

“They’re going to need people to be ready to come in and play,” McGruder said. “They said I’m the No. 1 guy they want to come in and play. They said a chance at the spot will be there, all I have to do is come in and take it.”

McGruder burst onto the recruiting scene after a strong junior year at Alief Taylor High School in Houston. McGruder changed schools late in his sophomore year, and at that point was known more as a basketball player.

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