STILLWATER — Mike Gundy didn't make a Signing Day splash. There was no blue-chip prospect to headline his latest Oklahoma State class.
But the Cowboy coach still seemed relaxed and content at his Wednesday press conference in Stillwater, confidently introducing the 23-player group of new Cowboys.
“I've said this for a few years, and I'm not just trying to blow us up or pump my own tires up,” Gundy said. “We take a two-star and make him a three, a three and make him a four and a four and make him a five. We really believe that's what we do.”
The big name from years past was certainly lacking in this year's class. There was no Herschel Sims or Wes Lunt. But Gundy seemed pleased with the overall diversity and quality, calling it the ‘best class since he's had' at OSU.
And that starts at the wideout spot, where the Cowboys secured the signatures of four-star Texas products Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples.
They lost out on long-time commit Fred Ross (another four-star guy who signed with Mississippi State on Wednesday), but seem to believe the two-man haul could pay immediate dividends.
“(Ateman) is six-foot-four, very athletic and physical,” Gundy said. “He's 190 (pounds) now…and he's gonna play at 210….Samples is not as tall, but he's really fast and has great side-to-side movement and will be a great outside receiver for us. His body type is a lot like Josh Stewart's, but he brings enough to the table where he'll play outside for us. Both of those guys will fit in and have an opportunity to play in the first game.”
Another position group that's likely to produce an immediate contributor is the running back. The Cowboys have Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland heading the depth chart, but injury and workload have forced them to go three-deep with carries in recent years.
And fighting for that third spot, among a few other returners, will be signees Corion Webster and Rennie Childs. Both are elusive and productive runners who showed versatility and durability in high school.
“We're excited about both of them,” Gundy said. “We think they fit our style of play. We've been very successful with those type of backs in our system…(And) we typically play our freshman backs.”
On the defensive side, OSU seemed most concerned about its front. Gundy has continued to express a growing importance of having physical and athletic ends and tackles in recent years, and it showed in this recruiting period.
While the Cowboys only picked up one linebacker, they added six players to the defensive line (three ends and three tackles).
Gundy seemed to think two in particular, both JUCO transfers, would be ready for immediate contribution.
Sam Wren is a 6-foot-3, 260-pounder with a rare athleticism and wingspan for the defensive end spot. He's already enrolled.
And Ofa Hautau, a Signing Day addition, is a 6-foot-1, 290-pound rock who is expected to help shore up the interior.
“As far as the defensive line position, this will be the best group that we've had,” Gundy said. “Because there's some meat in it, we've got guys coming in who are big and physical as we speak…. I'll be very surprised if 18 months from now, we all don't agree that this is the best group of defensive lineman we've signed since I've been the head coach here.”