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Football recruiting: Oklahoma State is doing better than you think with 2021 class

Five committed top-500 prospects is the most the Cowboys have had since 2015, and they could haul in one or two more.

TCU v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

One of the first reactions to Mike Gundy’s infamous T-shirt incident last June was wondering how it might affect recruiting. Obviously there were plenty of other more important takeaways in the immediate aftermath — including how Gundy would handle it with his current team — but the potential fallout for recruiting was a question many openly wondered about on Twitter.

We don’t yet know how it might affect long-term recruiting, but Oklahoma State is doing better in recruiting by some metrics than it has in the last decade. While the Cowboys rank No. 6 in the Big 12 and No. 49 nationally, those numbers are a little misleading. The average of OSU’s recruits ranks No. 4 in the Big 12 — meaning OSU is behind Kansas and Baylor in the current rankings because each has more commits than OSU at the moment.

The number that caught my eye is five — that’s the number of committed recruits OSU has ranked in the top-500 players in the nation. Should all of those players sign, that would be the most top-500 players for OSU since 2015, the final year of a six-year streak of signing five or more top-500 guys. The number of top-500 players in a given class does not account for players signed from junior colleges.

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Class Number of Top-500 Recruits National Ranking
Class Number of Top-500 Recruits National Ranking
2021 5 49
2020 1 45
2019 4 38
2018 4 34
2017 3 38
2016 1 45
2015 5 40
2014 9 27
2013 5 31
2012 7 31
2011 8 25
2010 7 29

OSU’s goal should be to try and return to the level of the 2010-15 recruiting classes, and this class could be just that come February. One thing to note about these numbers is the lowest recruiting ranking of any OSU recruiting class since 2010 that hauled in at least five top-500 players is No. 40. This class currently sits at No. 49, which would be the lowest of the past 12 classes — but it’s far too early to sound the alarm.

A big reason why OSU’s current class is ranked so low is because it currently has just 14 commits. There are nine schools among the 48 ahead of OSU in the rankings that have 14 or fewer commits, and OSU’s next commitment would likely vault the Pokes ahead of three of those teams given those three don’t sign another player before OSU does.

In other words, I expect OSU to be somewhere between 35-45 once the class is rounded out. It’s stronger at the top than it has been in a while, and this class is the first in quite a while to not benefit from a quarterback ranked in the top-600 overall to boost the rankings.

Looking at players with OSU offers, there is a decent chance the Cowboys add a top-400 player at running back and a top-600 player at safety. Adding one of Cam’Ron Valdez (No. 345), Tavierre Dunlap (No. 374) or Alton McCaskill (No. 397) at running back will provide a boost.

The Pokes are also in the running for Lyrik Rawks (No. 550) and C.J. Baskerville (No. 607) at safety. Signing any two of the five players would provide a tremendous boost to OSU’s class ranking. If McCaskill and Baskerville committed today, OSU’s class would rise 10 spots to No. 40. McCaskill would be the fifth-highest rated recruit in the class and Baskerville would be seventh-highest.

Gundy and his staff will need to continue to fill out the class; typically the team signs at least 20 recruits, so we should see about six more guys sign between now and national signing day to finish out the class.