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OSU will slide back in football recruiting rankings, but don’t panic

Let’s check on Cowboy football recruiting with summer coming to an end.

Syndication: The Oklahoman Nathan J. Fish/The Oklahoman / USA TODAY NETWORK

With summer ending and the season beginning, now is as good of a time as ever to check in on how recruiting is doing. This class will slide back from recent recruiting finishes because it will be a smaller class, but there is no reason for panic or concern.

Oklahoma State signed the No. 30 and No. 29 class in the nation, respectively, for the class of 2021 and 2022, the two most recent classes to sign. OSU currently ranks No. 59 in the nation with 11 commitments for the class of ‘23 and it could be tough to get the class into the top 40.

Here’s why that’s OK: Mike Gundy and the staff have loaded up at key positions. Most of OSU's highly rated recruits are typically quarterbacks and receivers; maybe the occasional defensive lineman. They’re likely set for the future at RB and WR and possibly quarterback.

Let’s start with quarterback. Spencer Sanders has one final ride (unless he takes his Covid-year and returns next season) before true freshman Garret Rangel, redshirt freshman Gunnar Gundy and incoming freshman Zane Flores compete for the job, unless Gundy goes to find a quarterback in the portal. Rangel was a four-star recruit; Gundy is, well, Gundy; Flores is the quarterback committed in this current cycle. Ranked No. 450 nationally, Flores is currently OSU’s second-highest rated commitment for 2023.

The embarrassment of riches at receiver is even deeper. Bryson Green, Blaine Green, Jaden Bray and John Paul Richardson all saw significant snaps as true freshman last season. Brennan Presley was a sophomore last season. This season, OSU will add Tayln Shettron — a top 10 recruit in program history — and the explosive Braylin Presley, to the mix. The Pokes also signed Stephon Johnson and Mason Gilkey at receiver.

OSU is young, deep and talented at the receiver position. Cameron Heard of Houston Furr HS is the lone Cowboy commit at WR for the class of ‘23 at the moment; other receivers may look at the depth chart and feel blocked by all the young talent currently in the program.

That leaves running back, where the Pokes are young and talented like the receivers, but the RB group doesn’t have near as much experience. The leading returning rusher is Spencer Sanders. The leading returning rusher among running backs is Dominic Richardson, who carried 79 times for 373 yards last season. Beyond that, Jaden Nixon carried 14 times for 122 yards, all in “garbage time.”

Those two should get regular carries next season in addition to standout Ollie Gordon, who is an early enrollee from the class of 2022 and impressed in spring practice. CJ Brown is also a highly recruited running back from the class of ‘22 that should see some time next season. The room is inexperienced but has several options. Adding a solid running back in the class of ‘23 would help, but the biggest need is experience and the portal might be better suited to help with that.

With a quarterback already committed in the class of ‘23 and the potential that the staff may not want to sign many receivers, OSU’s class is likely to slip from where it has been the past two years. Depth is needed on both lines; OSU has three defensive linemen and two offensive linemen committed so far.

Looking at who OSU has offered at each position, here’s who I’d like to see them add to the class, if possible. At running back, every player OSU has offered at that position has committed to another school with the lone exception being John Randle Jr. of Wichita (KS) Heights. Randle, a four-star back, should be a familiar name. His father, John, played at Kansas and his uncle, Joseph Randle, is a name Pokes fans should remember well.

Randle currently has no listed favorites and no crystal ball predictions. Per his Twitter account, he has visited Kansas State and Texas. OSU’s chances — and interest beyond a scholarship offer — are unknown. One back I would be interested to see receive an offer is Owen Allen of Southlake (TX) Carroll. Allen has reported offers from Air Force and Army. He has run for 5,474 yards and 83 touchdowns in his three years at Carroll and another 2,000-yard season would place him in the top 25 rushers in Texas state history.

If OSU decides to take another receiver — which is likely but probably not the main focus — Morgan Pearson of Ardmore (OK) Plainview would be a good fit. He’s a three-star ranked No. 688 in the nation and would go with the more Oklahoma-heavy theme the staff has adopted in recent years. He’s a recruit of similar ilk to Gilkey.

On the offensive line, Ethan Thomason of Fort Collins (CO) Rocky Mountain is the only realistic offer OSU could land. BYU is considered the favorite for the three-star recruit according to 247, but OSU is in the mix. Jack Endean is the only commitment at OT.

Recent success in the defensive secondary could pay off on the recruiting trail. Perhaps the highest-rated recruit left on OSU’s board is four-star safety Warren Roberson of Red Oak (TX) High. At No. 264 in the nation, Roberson would be OSU’s new highest-rated recruit. Roberson has Florida, SMU, TCU and USC in his top five along with Oklahoma State.

With 11 recruits currently in the fold and such a young roster already, the Cowboys class could be close to done. Mike Gundy said at media days that OSU would likely take three or four more commitments. Since then, Pro Kick Australia punter Hudson Kaak issued a commitment. I would think Gundy is still looking to add three or four players, but this will be a smaller class.

The depth and back-to-back successful classes are why it’s OK if this class doesn’t finish as high as normal. The average recruit rating in this class is 87.00 currently. For the class of ‘22, it was 87.61 and it was 86.60 for the class of ‘21. This class is on par with those that came before it, the total number of commitments just won’t be as high.

It’s scary to see a class ranked closer to Kansas than Baylor, but Mike Gundy is still the head coach. He will continue to find those diamonds in the rough. The transfer portal will also help to plug holes. If the average rating holds true, this class will be a success no matter where it finishes in the rankings.