STILLWATER — Signing Day had a much different vibe for Oklahoma State on Wednesday.
On Signing Day 2010, the Cowboys were in rebuilding mode, with the understanding that several true freshmen would have to play immediately.
“Last year, we were really thin on defense, which contributed to being thin on special teams,” coach Mike Gundy said. “We needed freshman skill players to help us.”
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,” 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. Several made a huge contribution to an 11-2 season, including running back Joseph Randle and linebacker Shaun Lewis.
While it's unlikely that many true freshmen play this season, some 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.
Linebacker Alex Elkins, a signee from Blinn (Texas) Junior College will be counted on to contribute in 2011.
OSU's prep signees will be given an opportunity to play early, and several Texans, including standout running backs Herschel Sims of Abilene and Desmond Roland of Dallas, defensive lineman James Castleman of Amarillo and linebacker Lyndell Johnson of Plano might make an impact 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. They could play themselves out of redshirt seasons.