As we close the chapter on another year of Oklahoma State athletics following a New Years’ Eve bowl win, our staff is looking ahead to 2019 and casting our predictions for what might happen.
Phillip already made his predictions for 2019. Here are my thoughts on recruiting, football performance and baseball’s last season in Allie P.
Football Recruiting Slips Again
The Pokes finished 34th in 247sports recruiting rankings for the class of 2018 with just two four-star commits. While OSU hasn’t yet wrapped up their 2019 class (and with a big decision from four-star Deondrick Glass looming,) the current class is ranked just 44th in the nation with two four-star’s— Midlothian Heritage (TX) wideout Langston Anderson and Collinsville (OK) tight end Grayson Boomer.
Boomer is ranked as the 246th best prospect in the nation and Anderson is ranked at 372. The uncommitted Glass comes in at 212. While recruiting rankings are far from the ultimate measure of success (the 247sports composite rankings had Justice Hill ranked as the 963rd best player in the nation,) they do still mean something.
It is hard to fathom that Oklahoma State is ranked in the top 15 in the nation in wins over the last decade, but doesn’t have a player ranked in the top 240 in the nation committed for the class of 2019. The Pokes should be getting top 200 talent. Obviously a decent chunk of the top 100 will enroll at Alabama (they’ve got 11 of the top 100. ELEVEN!!!) but that doesn’t mean OSU can’t recruit with some of the big dogs. Mike Gundy insists that OSU goes after these top guys but that it just doesn’t work out.
“We go after every six-star and eight-star and four-star in the world we can get around here and they all go to other schools at this point, so we go get whatever else is out there,” Gundy said on signing day. “We try to find the very best one that fits our system based on, we kind of work our way from [Oklahoma] out and we usually end up on the east or west coast somewhere. But, there’s a number of guys in this area that we tried to get in on and they didn’t have any interest in us, so we just go to the next guy.”
The 29th-year coach has been around the game and knows the game better than any of us. I still find it hard to believe that OSU can’t get any of these top-rated guys. Obviously a lot of them are going to want to go to the Alabama’s and Georgia’s and LSU’s of the world, but when Oklahoma State is getting out-recruited by schools like Duke, Cal, Minnesota, Virginia, Iowa State, Purdue and Arkansas that haven’t had recent success, don’t have a brand name or a prime location (looking at Arkansas and Iowa State here,) it’s tough to believe. Phillip Slavin pointed this out in our slack chat on signing day. How does OSU get out-recruited by schools like Arkansas, ISU and Virginia? It’s beyond me.
Hoops Recruiting Continues To Trend Up
While these might not be bold predictions or anything, I think they’re both very likely. Gundy has shown less of a willingness to go after game changers. The other coach Mike in town has done the exact opposite. Granted, hoops recruiting is far different from that of football. Class sizes are 3-5 at most, so schools don’t normally monopolize the top talent like schools such as Alabama can in football, although Duke and Kentucky are always locks for at least three “five-star” guys every year.
However, Mike Boynton has gone after the top guys, and made the top five of several top 15 recruits including guys like Tyrese Maxey (yep there’s one of those Kentucky five stars). The first year head coach cobbled together the 58th ranked recruiting class (on semi-short notice) for 2018 per 247sports with four commits, all rated as three-star guys per the composite rankings. Freshman Isaac Likekele and Yor Anei have been the top contributors from the class so far.
In his first full recruiting cycle at the helm, Boynton locked up the entire class before the early signing period and all four commits signed during that period. Oklahoma State is currently ranked 16th in the nation with four recruits, three of them being four-star guys. Teams still have plenty of time to round out their classes before the spring signing period which means that OSU could (and probably will) slip from their 16th ranking given that they’ve already signed their full class, but the haul is impressive nonetheless.
As it currently stands, Boynton is going after and striking out on several guys who are five-star talent. The guys he is signing are guys like Marcus Watson (70th in the nation), Kalib Boone (100) and Avery Anderson (122). Soon those 70-120ish rated commits will turn in to guys in the 50-100 range. And eventually, Boynton will land a five-star. I don’t think it’ll be in the class of 2020, but OSU isn’t far off on some of those guys and coach Mike is a big reason for that.
Tylan Wallace Wins Bilitnikoff Award
Wallace missed out on the Bilitnikoff award for the nations’ top receiver by a slim margin earlier this month. The award went to Alabama wideout Jerry Jeudy, who had Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa throwing to him. Wallace was working with a fifth-year senior and first-time starter known as “Corn Dog”. Give me Wallace next year after another stellar year.
Jeudy finished with 59 catches for 1103 yards (18.7 per game) and 12 scores. The most catches that he had in a game was eight for 130 yards against LSU. Wallace finished with 79 catches for 1408 yards (17.8 average) and 11 touchdowns. Wallace had three games with 10 catches and two 200 yard games.
The stats there are very comparable, granted that Taylor Cornelius isn’t exactly Tua Tagovailoa. Jeudy, like Wallace, is a sophomore this year so Wallace will likely have to beat out the Alabama standout next year to capture the award but I think Tylan gets it done in 2019.
Football Improves On 2018
In the coming days, I’ll be taking a look back at all of my predictions for the 2018 football team and comparing them to what really happened this year. One of those predictions was an 8-5 season record. Turns out, I was a year early on that one.
The 2018 Pokes will finish at either 7-6 or 6-7 depending on Monday’s Liberty Bowl against a ranked Missouri squad. The way-too-early returns for 2019 have me feeling like an 8-5 season again. I don’t think 9-4 is unreasonable but I don’t think OSU wins 10 games again either. Because Spencer Sanders and Dru Brown received a (likely) 0 combined snaps this season, OSU will once again be starting the season with some questions in a completely inexperienced quarterback room.
Taylor Cornelius turned a corner and started to look like a consistently good starter after a disastrous game at Kansas State. That was the seventh game of the year. It will likely take Sanders or Brown (or Costello?? Probably not but...) half of the season or more to really settle in, similar to Cornelius.
While a young defensive secondary will only get better and the new starter at quarterback will have plenty of weapons returning, its hard to win 10 games with an inexperienced quarterback. There will be improvements, but look for a 6-7 win season to turn in to a 7-9 win season. Baby steps.
OSU Sends Allie P Out With A Big 12 Title
College baseball is not my area of expertise by any means, so I’ll redirect you guys to Joel Penfield’s 2019 predictions. I know he’ll have some good baseball content in there. But this is one that feels right.
The Pokes lose three infielders after Matt Kroon left for the big leagues, Ryan Cash transferring to Oral Roberts and Michael Neustifter announcing his intent to transfer earlier this month. TCU and Texas Tech are always talented, Texas is seemingly on-and-off and Baylor returns catcher Shea Langliers, who MLB.com projects as a top 10 pick in June (and a guy that I graduated high school with).
Oklahoma State will have stiff competition in the conference as always. But a lot of these teams were just as good two seasons ago when the Pokes ran the table and won the Big 12 tournament as the lowest seed. Anything can happen and I’ll bank on some Allie P magic to lift a growing squad to a conference title. Not to mention that OSU will get tested often this season through the always rigorous Big 12 schedule and several marquee non-conference matchups including defending national champions Oregon State and a tournament at Dodger stadium in Los Angeles.
OSU Hoops Misses NCAA’s In 2019, 2020
This sounds bad. It’s not as bad as it sounds! OSU is currently 5-6 on the season and has a seven-point halftime lead on Texas A&M Corpus-Christi. This team, is not making the tournament. Last years’ team didn’t get in with wins over Kansas (twice), Texas Tech, West Virginia in Morgantown, Florida State in almost Tallahassee, etc. This years’ freshman-laden squad are not beating those teams.
Oklahoma State will be young again next season. Three seniors, six sophomores and four freshmen will likely be the makeup barring any transfers. I can see the 2019-2020 season being a lot like last years’ squad. A good group of seniors aided by a talented but inexperienced freshmen group and a couple of good sophomores to support. They could put together a couple of nice wins and its easy to see them being a fringe tournament team.
Here’s the good news: I know this is just 2019 predictions but I’ll blow it up a little wider here. I don’t think this team makes the tournament the next two years, but I think OSU could make a big splash in 2020-21. Coach Mike should haul in another solid class, the class of 2019 will be experienced sophomores and I think there is no reason that they can’t make a nice tournament run. The one thing that I could see holding them back would be a lack of upperclass talent, but that could be fixed on the transfer market.
Like my preseason football predictions, not all of these will come true. Some won’t even be close. But it will be fun to look back on these in December 2019 and compare them to what I think now. For more opinions on what OSU athletics might look like in 2019, check out the rest of the staff’s predictions for 2019.