If a new list of top players in school history were published in five years, how many current Oklahoma State players crack the top 100? More than you might think. Keep in mind the Cowboys have compiled back-to-back top 25 recruiting classes at a school that hasn't won a conference title in 31 years. Win a Big 12 title in the next four years, and candidates would be plentiful. Adarius Bowman is the only current player on the list. If he earns All-America honors, he would climb into the top 30. Quarterback Bobby Reid most likely makes it, provided he continues to improve after compiling the second-highest offensive season in school history. From there it's nearly impossible to project. The only seniors worthy of consideration are defensive end Nathan Peterson, linebacker Donovan Woods and running back Dantrell Savage, although Savage would have to have a monster senior season just to be considered. Peterson already is 10th all-time on OSU's career sacks chart (14.5). If he collects eight or more he will rank third behind Jason Gildon and Leslie O'Neal. That's tall-cotton territory. Woods is a long shot. But if he records 100 tackles, the argument would be he's the only starting quarterback on a bowl team who also started 30 games on defense. One junior, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, is as close to a lock as you can get halfway through a career. Pettigrew, arguably, could be the best tight end in school history. That's not my opinion. Coach Mike Gundy has said as much. No sophomore can be a slam dunk, but offensive tackle Russell Okung could be one of the Cowboys' best O-linemen in the past 30 years. That's saying a lot, but Okung is that talented. With sustained success, other sophomores with top 100 potential include safety Andre Sexton and linebackers Patrick Lavine and Chris Collins. All three were freshman all-Americans. Running back Keith Toston would have to be a star late his career. Freshmen are impossible to predict. Recruiting rankings offer insight, but here's a sobering reminder: Before their careers began, many would have predicted stardom for defensive tackle Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, while no one would have forecast pint-sized cornerback Darrent Williams would be a second-round NFL pick. But recruiting ratings, and one month of fall camp, are all we have to go on for the 2007 class. Barring an unexpected surprise, the top candidates are wide receiver Dez Bryant, defensive end Richetti Jones and defensive backs William Cole and Adrian Moore. Bryant hasn't recorded one reception, but it wouldn't be shocking to see him collect 200. Jones isn't fully recovered from a hip injury, but the ESPNU "Summer House” star has the speed to be one of the best pass rushers in school history. Cole and Moore probably won't crack the starting lineup until next season. But some claim Cole, a quarterback converting to cornerback, is the most talented player in this class. Moore, another former quarterback, is learning to play safety. Pulling out my crystal ball, Okung, Pettigrew, Reid, Bryant, Cole and Lavine will be top 100 worthy. Peterson and Collins might sneak in. Then again, Cole could be the next XLK while Williams-like candidates emerge.
Senior Nathan Peterson, center, is already ranked 10th among the Oklahoma State career sack leaders. Another quality season could put him in the top five. BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN