Oklahoma State’s contribution to the 2014 NFL Draft: one player.
Key player, however, it seems.
Thursday’s first round saw Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert go at No. 8 overall.
Sunday’s news saw hotly pursued high school cornerback Jaylon Lane commit to OSU.
The Cowboys keep putting corners in the NFL, with Gilbert the latest of the Mike Gundy era, joining Darrent Williams, Perrish Cox and Jacob Lacey – who have all started in the pros.
And OSU cornerbacks coach Van Malone, who is proving to be a dynamic recruiter, deserves major credit for helping Gilbert get back on track following his subpar junior year, adding a player development aspect to OSU’s selling points.
"Ever since these guys started recruiting me, and they've recruited me hard, Coach Malone did a good job of recruiting me,” Lane, a standout from Nacogdoches, Texas, told Scout.com. “And when I went up there it felt like family and there was a lot of love and support.
“Then with my height and ability, I believe Coach Malone can take me to the next level.”
The next level is what it’s all about.
Lane, as he alluded, has premium size for a corner at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds. He officially revealed his decision via Twitter Sunday morning, later saying it was a bit of a Mother’s Day gift: “I'm officially committed to Oklahoma State. #Gopokes.”
And what a gift.
And for the Cowboys.
Lane is currently a three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, yet a better indicator of his abilities might be his offers list, which includes Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, Georgia, Texas A&M and UCLA, but is hardly limited to those teams.
He played in San Angelo, Texas, the past two seasons at Central High, before moving to Nacogdoches. As a junior, he totaled 46 tackles and intercepted five passes, taking two picks for touchdowns. He also averaged 45.8 yards per kickoff return, with a 108-yarder for a touchdown, reflecting Gilbert in many ways.
Lane will arrive at a critical time, when projected 2014 starters Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin will be seniors. The Cowboys have several promising young players at the position, including redshirt freshmen Darius Curry and Jerel Morrow, but depth – especially at corner, in today’s aerial age – can’t be overvalued.
On the recruiting side, putting players in the NFL clearly can’t be overvalued, either.