STILLWATER — In a word, Oklahoma State’s football recruiting for 2015: selective.
That’s partly due to the Cowboys’ elevated profile, and in large part a necessity on this particular path to national signing day. OSU’s roster is overrun by youth, with 61 scholarship spots filled by freshmen and sophomores.
Counting just 11 scholarship seniors on the books, plus a few more available slots because of attrition, it all adds up to a limited recruiting class.
“We’ll have a smaller senior class and a signing class anywhere from 14 to 16,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said at the conclusion of spring.
That small of a class — the smallest of Gundy’s tenure — leaves little, if any, room for projects or players perhaps worthy of a flyer based more on optimistic projection than proof.
And it leaves no room for error; no swings and misses.
So Gundy and his staff must weigh all outgoing offers carefully, pursuing prospects based on thorough evaluation, background homework and fit.
And while limited scholarships might suggest a patient approach, we’re in a time when so many elite players commit early. So waiting to engage could be tricky.
So therein lies the challenge for Cowboys coaches. Identify a short list — and quick.
So far, OSU claims four commitments, highlighted by four-star running back Ronald Jones of McKinney, Texas. The Cowboys have a quarterback in Norman North’s John Kolar, a defensive tackle with Taaj Bakari of Mansfield, Texas, and an offensive lineman in Johnny Wilson of Midland, Texas.
All are positions of need, which speaks to another issue in this class — divvying up what’s available.
It all makes for an intriguing approach by Cowboys coaches in the coming weeks and months and a probable departure from recent summers, when OSU has mounted up commitments by the time preseason camp opened in August. Last year, of the 26 players who eventually signed with the Cowboys, 16 had committed by Aug. 1 and three more had pledged by the season opener.