STILLWATER — With coaches out on the recruiting trail earlier this month, Oklahoma State was also a prominent part of the coaching carousel.
Mike Gundy flirted with Tennessee and Arkansas. Todd Monken entertained — and eventually took — a head coaching opportunity at Southern Miss. And Bill Young started — or at least admitted he had started — thinking about retirement.
With that amount of uncertainty surrounding the three most important members of the coaching staff, how has that impacted the Cowboys' recruiting pitch?
Not much, according to Gundy.
Now that Gundy has committed to returning to OSU in 2013, his message is largely about maintaining the status quo.
He assures recruits that the Cowboys are committed to running the same Air Raid spread offense, just like when they went through the transition between Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken before the 2011 season. That means, no matter who Gundy brings in as his next coordinator, the same skill players who fit OSU's system last February will still fit this December.
“I'm just going on experience after Larry (Fedora) and Dana and then Todd,” Gundy said. “(A coordinator change) doesn't shake guys up very much.”
Four-star receiver Fred Ross, the Cowboys' first commitment of the 2013 class, is a perfect example.
“He never wavered,” said Ricklan Holmes, Ross' coach at John Tyler (Texas) High School. “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.”
Gundy also said that recruits tend to put a stronger emphasis on their relationship with a position coach, because those assistants now mostly recruit the players they would coach, rather than a geographic area.
That helps explain why quarterback Luke Del Rio decommitted from OSU the day after Monken departed for Southern Miss. Monken was also the quarterbacks coach, and Del Rio's family is close with the Monkens because of Todd's time working for Luke's father, Jack, on the Jacksonville Jaguars' staff.
But that also helps explain why, despite one key moving part and a couple other staff questions, OSU's 2013 recruiting class has largely remained intact.
The rest of the position coaches have, at least for now, stayed together.
Since the end of Gundy's part of the coaching cycle, the Cowboys have gotten two commitments — defensive back Taylor Lewis and junior college defensive end Sam Wren — and lost one in defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Wren, as well as offensive lineman Brandon Garrett, signed with the Cowboys last week.
That group of commits includes five offensive skill players in Ross, receivers Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples, running back Corion Webster and athlete Jerel Morrow.
Additionally, Laquon Treadwell, the top receiver recruit in the nation, has OSU in his top 3 and will visit Stillwater next month because Gundy did not leave, he told Rivals.com.
The stretch run of recruiting always features surprises. But OSU's coaching questions haven't caused much upheaval so far.
Because Gundy and those position coaches keep preaching the status quo.