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January 23, 2006

Cowboys raiding the Lone Star state

Recruiting success in the Big 12 depends a lot on the state of Texas and Oklahoma State is one school that understands that philosophy very well.

Competing against their in-state rival, the Oklahoma Sooners, the Lone Star state was definitely a priority for head coach Mike Gundy since assuming the head coach position last January. Coming in as the No. 25 ranked class in the country, the first full year of recruiting for Gundy and his staff has been extremely successful.

That success starts and ends with the talent-rich state to the South.

"We consider most of Texas an in-state area for us," Gundy said during a teleconference earlier this fall. "When you consider that the Dallas Metroplex and East Texas you're talking about a 3-4 hour drive."

Gundy also understands that states like Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri have their fair share of prospects, but that the state to the South is where top programs like the Sooners and Longhorns make their way.

"The state of Oklahoma traditionally has six or eight Division I-A prospects, so when we move the boundaries down we get up into 100," Gundy said. "It's something we have to do. It is very important to us because from a business sense it is a numbers game."

That game obviously has played out well for Gundy and company. At the current time, 17 out of the 26 verbal commitments for the Cowboys hail from the state of Texas. This includes top performers like four-star defensive back Terrance Anderson and four-star linebacker Patrick Lavine.

With OSU currently ranked the highest in the Rivals.com team rankings since 2003, it's a game-plan that is certainly paying dividends.

Many believe that this class is actually the best top to bottom in the school's history with several players on board that could step in and compete immediately. This includes quite a list of players already on campus for spring ball such as quarterback Alex Cate, Jacob Secrest, Anthony Parks, Jonathan Lewis, and Donnell Williams.

This says a lot considering the 2003 class, rated No. 13 that year, had big players like Donovan Woods, but several that didn't pan out. Players like Brad Girtman, Rodney Brown, Ricky Coxeff, Andrew Alexander, and Eryk Allen either never made it to Stillwater or left the team.

This year is much different as Cowboy fans are awaiting numerous players that have the opportunity to be a part of the change going on in the program.

As if the class didn't have enough there, it looks like one or two spots still remain for OSU.

Four-star defensive end Ugo Chinasa of Richardson (Texas) Berkner is one player that the OSU staff would like to finish up with pushing their class even higher, but also raising the expectations for results.

With more surprises probably in store before Signing Day, it's obvious that the first year of recruitment for coach Gundy has fans looking past the 4-7 record and towards the future.


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