Oklahoma State will look to continue to increase the overall talent on its roster when the Cowboys sign around 26 recruits on Wednesday. Several aspects of the Cowboys approach to its recruiting class reveals how the coaching staff aims to improve the program.
Here's a look at five things OSU's current recruiting class tells us:
1. Strong emphasis on defensive tackles. The Cowboys have four current defensive tackle commitments. OSU is coming off an 11-2 season, but 2010 underscored the importance of depth at the defensive tackle position.
Starters Shane Jarka and Chris Donaldson had excellent seasons but probably participated in more plays than necessary. The Pokes entered last season searching for depth and were forced to burn Davidell Collins' redshirt season due to early injuries. The Cowboys are taking steps with this recruiting class to ensure they aren't in a similar position in the future.
2. Passing the ball will remain a staple of the offense no matter who takes over as offensive coordinator. OSU has four players projected to play receiver and one projected running back on its commitment list. Dallas (Texas) Lake Highlands' Desmond Roland has the versatility to play either position.
Receivers David Glidden, Isaac McCoy, Josh Stewart and Johnny Haynes should help provide depth at receiver and one or two could even emerge as targets for quarterback Brandon Weeden this fall.
Meanwhile, Herschel Sims is the Pokes lone running back commitment and will join Jeremy Smith and Joseph Randle in the backfield competition. That's three running backs to carry the load. If the Pokes planned to add more running to their attack, they'd likely bring in more ball carriers.
3. OSU feels really good about the young offensive linemen on campus. The Cowboy commitment list features three offensive linemen and two (Michael Bowie and Travis Cross) are already on campus. Coach Mike Gundy sung the praises of last season's five offensive line recruits during their redshirt seasons in 2010 and return all five starters.
Bowie, a junior college transfer, could have an immediate impact, but don't expect any newcomer to step in along the offensive line over the next few seasons unless they are a special talent.
4. If you're an elite talent, the Pokes will pursue you regardless of position or current needs on the roster. Sims is a perfect example. When Sims orally committed, OSU had quality, young depth at running back behind Kendall Hunter with Smith, Randle and the departed Travis Miller. Heading into 2011, Smith and Randle should be key playmakers but, as Randle proved in 2010, if you're talented enough, OSU will find a way to get you on the field. And Sims is plenty talented.
Lyndell Johnson of Plano (Texas) East might be OSU's best defensive recruit. Johnson is the perfect prospect to play STAR linebacker for the Pokes, a position that is manned by 2010 Co-Defensive Freshman of the Year Shaun Lewis.
But Bill Young and the Pokes' defensive staff have shown during his tenure that they will find a way to get the best 11 players on the field. Richetti Jones moved inside at times in 2009, and cornerback Andrew McGee played a hybrid cornerback/safety role at times in 2010. If Johnson shows he's ready to make an impact, Young will get him on the field.
5. In this era of spread offenses, you can never have too many cornerbacks. The Cowboys played three true freshmen cornerbacks in 2010, and starter Brodrick Brown just finished his sophomore season. Additionally, Andrae May has two more seasons with the Pokes. That's five young cornerbacks with some experience.
Yet, OSU plans to add two cornerbacks on signing day.
Jonovan Griffin of McKinney (Texas) Boyd and Miketavius Jones of Galena Park (Texas) North Shore are cornerback prospects. Jones could help immediately, and Griffin has great long-term potential.