STILLWATER — The consistent success of Oklahoma State football is paying dividends.
In national exposure. In the ability to attract quality coaches. In the overall excitement around the program.
Most importantly, it's paying off in recruiting.
And it could pay even more dividends in the future.
Cowboy recruiting classes have ranked in Scout.com's Top 20 for back-to-back seasons (2010, 2011) and OSU could be looking to expand its recruiting base in the near future.
“We are looking into the possibility of going into Florida a little bit this spring,” coach Mike Gundy said.
Florida is the most talent-rich state in the nation, according to a Rivals.com study. The Sunshine State produced 344 Division I signees in 2011, an average of one signee per 111 players.
Make no mistake, the Pokes' bread and butter will always be Texas, which led the nation in total Division I signees with 345. The current roster is full of Texans and OSU's 2011 class featured 20 signees from Texas.
And don't overlook Oklahoma, which produced Biletnikoff winner Justin Blackmon (Ardmore) and All-Big 12 quarterback Brandon Weeden (Edmond). The Pokes signed three Oklahomans on signing day, inking Mustang receiver David Glidden, Glenpool safety Isaac Maselera and Sand Springs offensive tackle Michael Bowie (via Navarro J.C.).
But the Cowboys recognize that several players from Florida have the potential to be overlooked due to the overall talent in the state. Thus, OSU would like to target a small number of prospects in the area with the hope of signing one or two sleepers.
“There are a number of players in those areas,” Gundy said. “And the schools that are there may not be able to take all of them.”
Florida, Florida State and Miami will always attract the blue chippers in the state, but several programs including Nebraska, Louisville, Stanford, Oregon and East Carolina signed prospects who were considered among the best recruits in the state of Florida on Signing Day 2011.
OSU has already experienced success in the South, tapping into Georgia high schools with great success by securing linebackers LeRon Furr and recent signee Demarcus Sherod along with fullback David Paulsen and defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas.
Numerous national television appearances, national individual award winners, three straight seasons winning nine games or more and five straight bowl appearances has garnered the Cowboys program plenty of national recognition.
“We've gained recognition that we might not have had in the past,” Gundy said.
With that recognition, OSU enters homes on the recruiting trail with more immediate recognition than ever before, both in the Big 12 region and nationwide.
“If we can come up with 15 to 20 players to recruit and sign one or two it would be worth it,” Gundy said. “There are players there that we think can get overlooked.”
THE TOP 10 TALENT PRODUCING STATES
In recent seasons, Oklahoma State has signed recruits from Georgia and Florida in addition to its normal recruiting haul out of Texas and Oklahoma. Here's a look at the Top 10 talent producers (ranked by ratio of Division I signee per participant):
State, Signees, Players, Ratio
Florida, 344, 38,268, 111
Louisiana, 87, 14,839, 171
Georgia, 170, 32,088, 185
Alabama, 86, 22,052, 256
Utah, 30, 8,104, 270
Oklahoma, 44, 12,000, 272
Maryland/D.C., 49, 16,123, 329
Hawaii, 14, 4,926, 352
Ohio, 144, 55,027, 382
Arkansas, 28, 11,120, 397