STILLWATER -- This Cowboys recruiting class features all the obvious razzle-dazzle: two high profile quarterbacks, a four-star running back and a collection of big wide receivers.
What's missing: the expected prize piece on the defensive side, Booker T. Washington tackle Calvin Barnett, who pulled an 11th-hour commitment switch Wednesday to sign with Arkansas, stripping some of the shine from a class focused short-term on addressing defensive needs.
Barnett had been a long-time Cowboys commit dating nearly six months back, yet sent out warning signs in recent weeks, culminating with a visit to Arkansas two weekends ago. Wednesday, rumors of his wavering became reality.
The fallout was a seismic shift, with OSU losing the top-ranking prospect in its class, the Razorbacks gaining theirs. And it comes at a position scarce on elite talent and a position where the Cowboys are already thin.
For any OSU fans on the brink of hyperventilating, there's this bit of consolation: Barnett is considered an academic risk who faces a possible stint at junior college.
OSU coach Mike Gundy wouldn't discuss Barnett's defection specifically, yet lamented the loss of any player late in the process.
"There's a lot of time and effort that goes into recruiting these young men," Gundy said. "We work with a limited number of scholarships. Once we hit that max and whatever we're going to bring in, we're in a very delicate position to continue to recruit other players.
"That's the most difficult issue. Essentially, once you're full, you're full and you're not recruiting anyone else. And if you do lose a player late, whoever that may be, wherever they're from, the chance of replacing them is not very good."
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