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RECAP: Gundy’s 2017 NSD Press Conference

“Big Daddy” talks about recruiting philosophy, Twitter, the program’s relationship with the Polynesian culture, and a lot more.


Mike Gundy’s annual National Signing Day Press Conference started off with a bang, as if the man rocking the mullet would do anything else.

If you would like to watch the press conference in its entirety, here you go. If you just want the condensed version, keep reading.

Gundy started off by mentioning Oklahoma State does still have one scholarship left for this year, in case they get a late commitment, but overall, Gundy was happy with his Class of 2017.

“This is really a quality class. We've moved in the direction of trying to secure cerebral football players - guys that we think can think and react quickly in the game.”

Gundy just let us in a tiny bit on how they recruit. He said the staff looks for “cerebral” players. He then elaborated on what he meant by “cerebral” players.

"The game has changed considerably, especially in this league. Teams are playing with three or four split out from the backfield and they're moving them across, faking the handoff or faking a pass. In our system, you have to be able to think really fast. You have a gap responsibility, a coverage responsibility and a play-fast responsibility, all while two guys are moving from the snap of the ball that might change my responsibility. Each year we evaluate things we think we've done positive and overall in all areas. In these last couple of years we think that players that are able to think and react quickly - that are football savvy - they'll be able to contribute better to our program. If we think you're a cerebral player and able to get there faster, we're probably going to pick you over the other guy."

He went on to describe how interesting the running back position could be in a year or two.

“So we've got a couple of backs [Chuba Hubbard and J.D. King] that can be good if they're durable and potentially play at 215 or 220 pounds.”

Technology affects everything these days. Social media is one of the most powerful tools of communication. Fun fact: Mike Gundy was not the first member of his household to know everyone who officially signed today.

“I find out after the fact. I got everything from my 12-year-old. He was calling me on his way to school and telling me who had signed. He was on Instagram or somehow he was getting it before I was getting it. Technology is increasing every day.”

Gundy moved on to talk about recruiting and Twitter.

“We've not ever really been big fans of recruiting taking place on Twitter. There is instant information out there. A year ago, I would've said that half of it was false, but now I'll say that 75 percent of it is true. It's more accurate as it has ever been and I think that's because it is coming from the source."

Make sure and look for the younger quarterbacks to get a lot of work in during spring ball.

“It will be an interesting spring because Mason (Rudolph), we won't work him a lot. We will work the younger guys. As we have our three or four thud scrimmages in the spring, the majority of them will be the young quarterbacks and we let them play."

The Cowboys’ head coach also talked a bit about how they handle visits.

“I say this to the parents and the young men, 'We don't have night clubs that are open till 4:00 a.m., so if you are looking for that type of lifestyle, you should look somewhere else because you will be disappointed when you get here.' Our best recruiters are our current team, the guys on our team now, because we have been here long enough. They can tell the young men that visit our campus, 'Whatever they tell you, is the truth. It's the way it is.' We are very transparent. We are very upfront. It is exactly the way it is going to be. That way when they get here, we don't have any disgruntled players in the organization. Everyone understands the direction we are going in and we have done that now for years and it has worked for us."

Gundy is impressed with the recruits the state of Oklahoma has been cranking out lately.

“I am excited about the class from Oklahoma. I've said this the last couple years, and I will say it again this year, the talent in the state of Oklahoma is getting better and better each year. With the budget cuts and the education cuts that are happening in this state, I'm not sure how that is happening because there have been cuts all across the board.”

He also gushed about how good Rob Glass, OSU’s strength and conditioning coach, is at his job.

“I think he is the best in the country at what he does. We bring in guys and in two years we develop them. They come in with 18 percent body fat and go to nine percent body fat and they will put on 15 pounds and go from a 4.8 to 4.65. More importantly, he instills discipline, structure, and toughness in them that really equates to who we are on game day and why we have as much success as we have on the field and in the class room.”

Gundy talked about the program's relationship with Polynesian culture.

"They're very loyal, very family-oriented. They understand structure and discipline in most cases. Their families or the generation before the parents of the young man we're recruiting have had to work extremely hard to get to this country. They're loyal to this country. They get up and work every day and are thankful for who they are and where they are. That's exactly what we're looking for here. It's not 100 percent, but in most cases they're not looking for, 'What all can you do for me and my son when he's here?' What they tell their son is, 'Here's an opportunity. You better do what they tell you to do.' It makes it easy to coach them. We don't have issues. I can pick the phone up and call their dads and say we're having an issue with missing class with so-and-so and that will be the last class missed we have from him. We really enjoy their culture and what they stand for."


"I cut three inches off during recruiting because it looked really floppy and I was kind of embarrassed a little bit going into those homes. I didn't know how people would take it, but the repercussions of it have been negative. JD King's mom, when she was here, said, 'Coach, if I were you, I wouldn't cut your hair. That's your swag.’”

Pay attention here kids, as Coach Gundy tells you to do as many sports in school as possible.

"I don't like [specialization]. I think high school kids should be able to play as many sports as they want to play. I think we're getting overwhelmed with travel baseball, softball, volleyball, AAU basketball, 7-on-7 and it's discouraging some high school athletes to play multiple sports. For us, we think it's best for them to play multiple sports and compete year round. If they're talented enough to get here, they're probably going to get here, so playing another sport isn't going to matter. When we're evaluating recruits one of the first things I ask is, 'Does he play any other sports?' Justin Blackmon was a heck of a basketball player and Dez Bryant could do anything. Guys that are talented at other sports are usually more talented on the field than guys who don't. Not always, and quarterbacks are a little different but I would recommend they play all the sports and have fun."

Mason Rudolph and James Washington had an effect on the class, Gundy said.

"It had an overall effect on morale. There is a perception and feeling that's out there, and there is excitement that's out there. You have high-profile players like those two and they say they're coming back. You guys know that they're non-BS guys and they're hard workers. You have the leadership established that's coming back. There's excitement. The class of wide receivers in this group is fantastic. They think they're going to catch passes from Mason, so it impacted their decision and them staying with us. That feeling you get from young men coming back, the perception is always positive."

According to 247 Sports, the Cowboys have the 38th best recruiting class in the nation, and fourth in the Big 12, behind OU (8), Texas (25), and TCU (32).

I’d like to take a moment and welcome the next generation of Cowboys to OSU and congratulate them on picking the best school in the nation!

Go Pokes!