STILLWATER — On Signing Day 2010, the Cowboys were in rebuilding mode, knowing that several true freshmen would have to play immediately especially on defense and special teams.
On Signing Day 2011, the need for an immediate contribution is not as strong.
“I don't see that as being critical this year, we were more in a rebuilding stage as far as the depth standpoint,” coach Mike Gundy said. “I would like to play some skill players on both sides of the ball but it's not as critical as it was last year.”
OSU played 14 true freshmen in 2010 with several making a huge contribution to the Pokes' 11-2 season. While it's unlikely that many true freshmen play this season, several of OSU's 28 signees could have an immediate impact including junior college defensive end Ryan Robinson, offensive lineman Michael Bowie and defensive tackle Maurice Hayes.
“We would like for Ryan Robinson to make an impact,” Gundy said. “Maurice Hayes to help us right away and Mike Bowie (to help immediately).”
Linebacker Alex Elkins, a signee from Blinn (Texas) J.C., will also be counted on to contribute in 2011.
OSU's prep signees will also be given every opportunity to play early and several of them including standout running backs Herschel Sims of Abilene and Desmond Roland of Dallas, Texas, defensive lineman James Castleman of Amarillo, Texas and linebacker Lyndell Johnson of Plano, Texas could make an impact as early as this fall.
Receivers David Glidden of Mustang, Isaac McCoy of Alma, Ark. and Josh Stewart of Denton, Texas will arrive on campus in the summer and provide needed depth to the Cowboys receiving corps and have every opportunity to play themselves out of redshirt seasons.
DEFENSIVE INTERIOR IS THE FOCUS FOR THE POKES
Oklahoma State had a clear priority during its pursuit of the Cowboys 2010 signees: Improve the Pokes' defensive front seven.
OSU took a step towards its goal of improving its defensive front seven Wednesday by signing five defensive tackles.