STILLWATER — When Oklahoma State announced its 2013 recruiting class in February, it was missing a quarterback, primarily because of Luke Del Rio's decommitment after former offensive coordinator Todd Monken Stillwater left to become the head coach at Southern Mississippi.
That wasn't a huge concern for the Cowboys at the time, because help or depth at that position wasn't an immediate need. After all, OSU was set to begin spring ball with three quarterbacks — Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh — who had started and won a Big 12 game. Two of them were sophomores.
But after Thursday evening's surprising news that Wes Lunt will transfer, quarterback now becomes perhaps the No. 1 priority for OSU's 2014 class. And now the Cowboys are likely an even more attractive option, with the opportunity to immediately compete with Walsh for the starting job in 2014 after Chelf finishes his career this coming season.
So OSU needs to add at least one signal-caller, possibly two. And they're going after big-time prospects.
The biggest, perhaps, is Kyle Allen from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain. Rated the No. 1 quarterback in the nation by Scout, the 6-4, 200-pound Allen has a big, accurate arm — he threw 36 touchdowns and just seven interceptions as a junior — and experience commanding a fast-paced, spread offense similar to OSU's Air Raid attack. He visited OSU for its spring finale last month.
“He knows what's going on on offense,” said Tony Tabor, Allen's high school coach. “And what I mean by that is he knows what the O-line does, he knows the protection calls, he knows the plays, he knows how to line everybody up.
“We can do a lot of things with him that you can't do with a lot of high school kids … he's doing a lot of things that a college guy does.”
The accolades keep rolling in for Allen, who was named the MVP of the Elite 11 Regional in Chicago last weekend and earned an invite to Nike's The Opening invitational in Oregon.
Also continuing to roll in? The scholarship offers. One of the most recent came from Ohio State, which could now be the favorite to land Allen. He told SB Nation in Chicago that Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer compared Allen to Alex Smith, the quarterback he coached at Utah who became a Heisman finalist and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
“Not that anybody else's offer is not prestigious,” Tabor recently told The Arizona Republic, “but that might be the biggest one. I mean, (Meyer has) produced Heisman Trophy winner (Tim Tebow).”
“They're big time. They do big-time things. The only other quarterback offer was to a kid in Georgia. It's not like they throw offers out to anybody.”
But Tabor provides a link between Allen and OSU, as the coach is from Perkins and has family that lives in Stillwater. And as a college player for Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State), Tabor matched up against OSU wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn when he was playing for Idaho.
Then there's another sought-after quarterback close by in Norman North's David Cornwell, the No. 2 prostyle signal-caller in the nation according to Rivals and another Elite 11 finalist after a standout performance at the Dallas Regional.
Trent Dilfer, an ESPN analyst, former NFL quarterback and head coach of the Elite 11 program, recently compared Cornwell to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger because of his 6-5, 230-pound frame, big arm and ability to make plays outside the pocket.
Cornwell has told recruiting services he plans to make a commitment in June, with Alabama and Tennessee appearing to hold an edge.
OSU's other known quarterback offers, according to Rivals, include a pair of three-star prospects in Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern's Mason Rudolph and Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal's Foster Sawyer (who committed to TCU last month).
The Cowboys have also expressed interest in two other signal-callers.
West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade's Brad Kaaya, a three-star prospect, made the trip to Stillwater for OSU's spring finale and could get an offer soon when Cowboy offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich visits this spring. Yurcich is also expected to visit Broken Arrow this spring to watch three-star prospect Coleman Key, according to Broken Arrow offensive coordinator Jay Wilkinson.
“I think there's some interest in Coleman,” Wilkinson said recently, “just with the new coordinator and new quarterbacks coach (Yurcich) coming in. He wants to come out and watch Coleman throw and be able to kind of get an evaluation on him.”
So while the immediate task for OSU is to sort out a revamped quarterback derby for 2013, much is already being done on the recruiting trail to find the Cowboys' future at the position.
A future that now does not include the possibility of Lunt still quarterbacking the Cowboys in 2016. But a future that could belong to a prepster the Cowboys are currently targeting.