It’s no secret that Oklahoma State quarterbacks have struggled at times over the last two seasons. Taylor Cornelius struggled to fill Mason Rudolph’s shoes and left many OSU fans with an empty feeling as a result. Now, many of those Oklahoma State fans are issuing public apologies to Corndog on Twitter.
Dear Taylor Cornelius,— Tucker Cogburn (@tuck_cogburn) December 5, 2020
I’m sorry for wanting to start Sanders over you.
Spencer Sanders pushed through a polarizing freshman season last year before getting hurt and missing the last three games. Sanders finished with a 7-3 record as a starter, but a road loss to Texas Tech in which he turned the ball over five times highlighted his weaknesses as a quarterback.
Dru Brown finished out the 2019 season with a 1-2 record and average performances across all three games. OSU fans had high expectations for Sanders this year, and for good reason. His potential is more than evident, but his ball security issues have lost the Pokes a few games over the last two seasons. Freshman Shane Illingworth has flashed promise as well, but even critics of Sanders have quit clamoring for Illingworth to replace him after Illingworth struggled against OU in Bedlam.
The most ideal scenario involves Sanders tightening his handle on the football and making better reads in the passing game. Sanders has accounted for 27 touchdowns and 27 turnovers in his career. Two of his 24 touchdowns are on the ground. He’s thrown 19 interceptions and lost eight fumbles. As good as he has been at times, his turnovers have held OSU back in each of the last two seasons.
So who does OSU turn to at quarterback? Mike Gundy hasn’t been actively recruiting for the position this cycle. It’s highly unlikely the Cowboys take a quarterback this cycle, but I will throw a name out there just for the sake of the argument. I’ll also take a look at who OSU needs to land in the 2022 cycle. However, all indications are that Gundy and this coaching staff are comfortable with Sanders and Illingworth for the immediate future.
Grayson James: Duncanville, TX (2021)
As much as I will always advocate for DFW recruits, I’m not sure James is going to be an upgrade from Sanders or Illingworth. Especially not in his freshman year. Unfortunately, this is the position Oklahoma State is in. James is a three-star recruit with offers from Central Michigan and San Jose State, among others. The Duncanville product is the 70th ranked quarterback in this class, but one of just a handful of uncommitted quarterbacks in the top-70.
The shoot-for-the-moon candidate here would be rising star Jaxson Dart, the 14th ranked quarterback in the class from Draper, Utah. More than a handful of schools are after Dart’s commitment right now as he is the last highly rated, uncommitted quarterback in the class. Jake Garcia just de-committed from USC but is likely to commit to Miami (FL) in the coming days. Iowa State is among the suitors for Dart, and OSU should absolutely reach out, even if the odds are slim.
Conner Weigman: Cypress, TX (2022)
Conner Weigman has seen his recruitment blow up this season. The junior has Bridgeland with a perfect 10-0 record heading into the 6A DII Playoffs. Weigman’s success came with a rise in rankings, as he earned a fourth-star and offers from various programs, including Oklahoma State. Florida, Texas and Oklahoma are among the other schools that have extended offers to the Bridgeland product. Weigman is OSU’s long-shot target for the 2022 class.
Cade Klubnik: Austin, TX (2022)
The Austin Westlake product is about to help the Chaps defend their 2019 6A DII State Championship, but Westlake is in Division I this year. Klubnik is another long shot who doesn’t currently hold an Oklahoma State offer. Klubnik is most interested in Texas, Arizona State, Auburn, Georgia, and North Carolina, according to 247sports.com. It wouldn’t hurt for OSU to throw its name in the list of suitors and hope for the best. Now for some more realistic targets.
Garret Rangel: Frisco, TX (2022)
Garret Rangel starred as a sophomore for Frisco Lone Star. Rangel handed the ball off to Oklahoma State commit Jaden Nixon at running back and passed to Oklahoma star Marvin Mims at receiver. Rangel holds an offer from Oklahoma State and Nixon told me in an interview back in October that he was recruiting Rangel to join him in Stillwater. Other schools that have extended offers to Rangel include Virginia Tech, Tulsa, and Utah. Rangel is currently the 27th ranked quarterback in the class of 2022.
Braedyn Locke: Rockwall, TX (2022)
I am throwing Rockwall quarterback Braedyn Locke in the mix even though he doesn’t currently hold an offer from Oklahoma State. Kansas, North Carolina, and Miami (FL) are among the schools that have extended an offer to Locke. The Rockwall product threw 52 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions in his sophomore season. I like Locke’s game and would like to see OSU extend an offer to a guy that has been under-recruited to this point, in my opinion.
Gavin Session: Humble, TX (2022)
Gavin Session debuted as the full-time starter for the Atascocita Eagles this season and has impressed as the season has gone on. I got to watch him in person for the first time when Atascocita opened its season at Allen back in October. I was impressed with his playmaking ability for much of the game, though the offense struggled to move the ball against Allen at times. That’s to be expected for a quarterback making his first start on the road against Allen.
Session opened the playoffs against Dobie last weekend and finished 10-for-14 passing for 254 yards and three scores, to go with an interception. He also rushed the ball 20 times for 195 yards and three more touchdowns with a fumble. That sounds a lot like Spencer Sanders to me. He’s an electric playmaker that can get it done through the air and on the ground. The turnovers are a tad concerning but we’re talking about a guy that is just a junior and still has a full season of high school football ahead of him.
What was more disrespectful, this dirty grab by Chase Sowell or him hitting the Horns down after? That's a 15-yard penalty in the Big 12! Atascocita rolls against Dobie, full highlights on the show tomorrow night at 11. @AHSEagleFB @SowellChase #txhsfb #ihss pic.twitter.com/kbzWnpW3Ew— Houston Inside High School Sports (@ihss_houston) December 12, 2020
My brother picked Dobie to upset Atascocita in the first round. I picked Atascocita to make it all the way to the regional final, in part because of Session’s playmaking ability. Session visited OSU back in early March with his teammate, wide receiver Keith Wheeler. Session may or may not be the answer, but he is a player OSU should keep an eye on next season.
Chris Parson: Red Oak, TX (2023)
Spencer Sanders will be gone by the time Chris Parson could step on campus, but I figured I would throw Parson’s name in while I’m here. Parson filled in for an injured Ja’Quinden Jackson in the 6A DI State Championship Game last year for Duncanville. The Panthers lost the game and Parson transferred to Red Oak this year. He has split time with senior quarterback Josh Ervin as a sophomore and figures to be a top-ranked quarterback in the state when it’s all said-and-done. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for OSU to get in early on Parson. Virginia Tech, Kansas and Oregon State have all extended offers to the sophomore quarterback.
I realize the only quarterbacks I chose are from the state of Texas. Part of the reason for that is because I am plugged into Texas High School Football and I have seen more than half of the quarterbacks on this list in person. I promise I combed through the recruiting sites trying to find a quarterback from Oklahoma or even Arkansas worth my time. I was unsuccessful in doing so. Ultimately, I think Sanders can be the quarterback OSU needs him to be. The Cowboys would be 9-3 right now in a normal year, and maybe we’re having a different conversation about Sanders if it’s a normal year. The best record Mason Rudolph ever finished with was 10-3. Sanders has room for improvement, but Oklahoma State needs to bet on him to be the guy for the next two seasons.