The moratorium on on and off-campus recruiting continues through May for college football, which is really tough on programs like Oklahoma State where visits often are just the thing to sway a recruit into becoming a commit.
When the ban is lifted, OSU will look to get as many of their top-priority 2021 prospects on campus. We already broke down the seven offensive recruits that OSU needs to prioritize getting to campus. Today we turn to the defensive side of the ball.
We start with DeSoto defensive end Shemar Turner, one of two players that made our list who play for a school with a strong pipeline to OSU.
DeSoto has sent the likes of A.J. Green, Jabbar Muhammad, LD Brown, Chris Lacy and more to Stillwater in the past few years. Turner could be the next in the pipeline to choose OSU out of DeSoto, but it will be an uphill battle.
Texas, Alabama and Oklahoma are among the schools after Turner’s services, so OSU will need that pipeline connection to come in handy if it wants to land Turner.
Turner (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) reminds me of Pleasant Grove’s Landon Jackson, who is a top-40 recruit in 2021. Turner uses his strength to overwhelm his opposition while still possessing elite speed for a player of his size.
It’s easy to understand why some of the top programs in the nation are after him. While I wouldn’t expect OSU to have a decent shot, getting him on campus and talking up the successes of past DeSoto graduates to come through Stillwater could sway him, especially with the outlook of early playing time.
Swindle hails from Oklahoma City and would be a great addition to the current class. He’s been relatively under-recruited with just six offers despite being ranked No. 604 for his class. Iowa State, Texas Tech and Memphis are among his notable offers in addition to OSU.
The Heritage Hall product (6-1) plays on both the offensive and defensive line. He’ll be used solely as a defensive lineman in college, and is a guy with a high motor. This is one OSU needs to hit on.
This is the second pipeline player OSU needs to be in on, and it has a better chance at landing Oliver than Turner. Oliver hails from Santa Fe High School in Edmond, Oklahoma, that has produced Calvin Bundage and Trace Ford.
Oliver will be sold hard on being the next great OSU defender to come out of Santa Fe, but securing his services won’t be easy. He’s interested in Arkansas, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Utah in addition to OSU, and the recruiting won’t stop there as he’s ranked in the top-400 nationally per the composite, and No. 221 nationally by 247sports.
The versatile defender lined up at linebacker and defensive end last season and can play either if needed, though he’ll be recruited as a linebacker. In most cases, he was simply too athletic for whomever was tasked with blocking him as his highlights show. I see Oliver as a bigger and stronger (albeit slower) version of Bundage. He has great size (6-2, 220), most of which is muscle. He’ll be a steal of a defender for whoever secures his services.
Cooks comes from one of the best football programs in the state of Texas. Shadow Creek has never not played a state championship, boasts a 31-1 all-time school record and sent three players on defense to Division I schools in the class of 2020.
The rangy linebacker is similar in size to Oliver and comes from a school with an excellent pedigree for defensive players. This means schools across the nation have seen him play. His top interests currently include Texas, OU and Texas A&M.
At No. 479 in the nation, he’s ranked lower than Oliver but holds far more and far better offers. This is likely because of the national exposure Shadow Creek, who will open its 2020 season by playing St. Joesph’s Prep (PA) on ESPN, garners opposed to Santa Fe.
The good news is, the top schools recruiting him are also recruiting players ranked higher at the same position. Not all of his offers will be “committable,” meaning OSU could have a chance to snag Cooks if it recruits him hard enough. That starts with a visit to campus.
Cooks is simply a beast to block and possesses the kind of speed to run down opponents from the opposite side of the field, as shown in his first two highlights in the clip below. His combination of size and speed will be invaluable in college, and OSU will have a lot of work to do to pry him away from a school like Texas.
Here’s another Texas program that has produced no shortage of great players on the defensive side of the ball. Blackwell hails from defensive guru Bob Wager’s program at Arlington Martin, and is most interested in Baylor and Notre Dame in addition to OSU.
Despite a No. 703 national ranking, Oklahoma State could have an uphill battle here too. Blackwell holds offers from other top programs such as Alabama, but prying him away from his lead recruiter at Baylor, Joey McGuire, will be a project. McGuire has an excellent rapport with Dallas-Forth Worth area area recruits as a long-time head coach at Cedar Hill High School, where he won a pair of state titles.
Blackwell won defensive newcomer of the year for District 4-6A, before winning District MVP in 2019. He’s a little smaller than Oliver and Cooks, and doesn’t currently possess the ability to switch between defensive end and linebacker. That’s perfectly fine, because he’s every bit a sure-tackler as Oliver and Cooks, but is more mobile and will be better at dropping into coverage, a skill that will be useful in Jim Knowles’ scheme.
Bassa, who has long been linked to OSU, and his Twitter feed has been filled with OSU for a while. He holds 13 offers in total, including Baylor, Louisville and Oregon. Bassa is one of the top players in Utah for his class.
His size (6-1, 190) is identically to Blackwell, with both being at a size where they could play linebacker or defensive back. Bassa will undoubtedly play safety in college, and would be a big steal for OSU. He’s not ranked in the top 1000 prospects, but his still garnered solid interest from good programs. Bassa feels like every bit of a classic Mike Gundy prospect: overlooked player that turns into a gem.
Most of his hudl highlights come on offense and special teams, where Bassa ran over the entire state of Utah. Most of those highlights were touchdowns coming from 50-plus yards out. He has the ability to run down anyone as a defender, which will make him a valuable safety.
Bassa is the kind of recruit OSU needs to hit on. Because they so often miss out on the top recruits, gems like Bassa are can’t-miss.
Baskerville hails from my hometown (but not my alma mater) of North Richland Hills, Texas. He’s up next in a good line of defenders to come out of Richland High School, and is ranked No. 523 in the nation. His crystal ball reads OSU 100 percent, and another trip to Stillwater could seal his commitment.
Despite a good ranking on 247sports, Baskerville holds eight offers. To me, this means his recruitment should be of the utmost importance. OSU should do everything it can to secure his commitment before it potentially blows up during his senior season.
Baskerville is a hard-hitting safety who possess good speed and ball skills, with multiple interceptions and pass break-ups in his highlights. OSU pairing Baskerville and Bassa at safety could be the long-term look for the position.