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.
Bakersfield (Calif.) Community College defensive tackle Maurice Hayes and Jones County (Miss.) Community College defensive end Ryan Robinson should be able to help immediately along the Cowboys defensive line.
Prep defensive tackles James Castleman of Amarillo (Texas), Ashaad Mabry of San Antonio (Texas) MacArthur, Alex Villareal of Hidalgo (Texas) and Mike Mustafa of Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch will be counted on to help shore up OSU's defensive front.
SIGNING DAY GOES RELATIVELY SMOOTH
Poor weather and power outages in Abilene, Texas delayed the official signing of Herschel Sims but the elite running back recruited eventually inked his LOI to OSU. The Cowboys signed 27 recruits on Wednesday.
The winter snowstorm that blew through Oklahoma and impacted portions of Texas on Tuesday had a minimal effect.
“It went more smoothly than I thought,” said Gundy while noting that recruits' coaches had been good about finding a way to get signed LOIs faxed into Stillwater. “Those (high school) coaches are usually pretty reliable and it worked out today.”
POKES ADD PREP QUARTERBACKS AS ATHLETES, SLEEPERS
Richardson (Texas) athlete Torrance Carr and Alma (Ark.) receiver Isaac McCoy are two Cowboy signees who didn't have an abundance of BCS offers before the Cowboys got into the mix. Carr de-committed from North Texas to sign with OSU and McCoy spurned an offer from Central Arkansas to sign with the Pokes.
“Both played quarterback, very similar to Justin Gilbert,” Gundy said. “They were able to make a lot of plays for their teams.”
Carr could end up at several different positions while McCoy could make an impact as a receiver for the Pokes.
“You had to project what they could play,” Gundy said. “And for that reason I don't think there was as much interest from other schools but we feel very comfortable signing high school quarterbacks that have made plays for their team.”
By Brandon Chatmon