Oklahoma State National Signing Day 2014: Position-by-Position Analysis
The Oklahoma State Cowboys wrapped up one of their most impressive national signing days (particularly on defense) under head coach Mike Gundy earlier this week.
Players were added at key positions as the Pokes attempt to replace countless key players on both sides of the ball. It's an exciting time in Stillwater, as fans are looking forward to the summer when these new recruits finally get a chance to step on the field (though they'll get a special sneak peek at the five early enrollees this spring).
Read on for position-by-position analysis of Oklahoma State's 2014 recruits.
*All Rankings and Statistics via 247sports.com.
Signees: 4-star Mason Rudolph (Northwestern; Rock Hill, N.C.)
Analysis: Rudolph represents a potential star-in-the-making for Gundy's staff. The young signal-caller has been running the Air Raid offense his entire high school career and had 80 total TDs to just eight interceptions during his senior year.
Obviously, the quarterback position is J.W. Walsh's to lose but don't be surprised if Rudolph (an early enrollee) heavily pushes for first-team reps this spring. It's hard to say if Oklahoma State will start a freshman again after what happened with Wes Lunt; however, Rudolph has a chance to bring back the frenzied aerial attack OSU fans have gotten used to.
Signees: 4-star Tyreek Hill (Garden City C.C.), 4-star Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla.), 3-star Sione Palelei (East Ascension; Gonzales, La.)
Analysis: Hill is possibly the fastest player to ever step into Boone Pickens stadium. We're talking this guy could legitimately run in the Olympics someday. However, it's unlikely he'll be in the backfield much during his collegiate career. Look for the Pokes to primarily use him out of the slot but don't be surprised if they move him around to get him the ball in innovative ways.
Thomas is probably the most traditional back in this class and could see immediate time in short yardage and goal-line situations. He has great power and balance through the hole, giving him the ability to pick up hard, extra yards.
Finally, "Boo" Palelei is an interesting get for the Pokes. He could only suit up for five games during his senior year due to injury, but over that limited timeframe, he put up 752 yards and 10 scores. It's unlikely he plays much this coming season but watch out for this young man over the next few years.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Signees: 4-star Keenen Brown (Alief Taylor; Houston, Texas), 3-star Jordan Frazier (Lighthouse Christian Academy; Springfield, Mo.), 3-star Chris Lacy (Desoto, Texas), 3-star James Washington (Stamford, Texas).
Analysis: Brown is a very tall, very strong player who might remind some of a guy like Anquan Boldin because of his ability to come across the middle and make the tough catch while getting lit up. Lacy is another 6'3" receiver who can stretch a defense with his speed and Washington could fill the slot position during his career.
All three players should be major contributors in a few years, but Oklahoma State's talent pool at receiver is probably too deep for any of these guys to get significant time this season. Barring injury, expect these guys to either get a redshirt or only play in mop-up duty as they develop in 2014.
Frazier is the lone tight end of the group, so we'll talk about him separately. He's a gigantic young man, standing 6'5" and tipping the scales at almost 250 pounds. He also probably won't see the field this season; however, his size and speed (4.7 40) make him an interesting red-zone weapon for the Pokes.
Signees: 3-star Lemaefe Galeai (Trinity; Euless, Texas), 3-star Matthew Mucha (Clear Lake; Houston, Texas)
Analysis: Galeai already possesses ideal size at 6'4" 310 pounds, meaning he could see time as solid depth during his freshman year. That said, one would assume he will probably spend a year with the conditioning and coaching staff before he plays a key role for Oklahoma State.
Mucha comes in at 6'6", but he could stand to add some weight, as he only weighs 255 pounds. He projects as a blindside protector for the Pokes; however, like Galeai, he needs some time to work on his body before he sees the field.
Signees: 4-star Jordan Brailford (Booker T. Washington; Tulsa, Okla.), 3-star Trey Carter (Pinkston; Dallas, Texas), 3-star Jarrell Owens (Palestine, Texas), 3-star Cole Walterscheid (Muenster, Texas)
Analysis: Brailford is probably the most likely to see early time, given his speed and overall athleticism. He could make an impact as an edge-rusher during passing downs. Carter could also see early time; however, he might also be making an early switch to DT, given his big frame and amazing strength.
Owens is an incredible athlete and may become a quality pass-rusher later in his career. That said, he probably needs at least a season to work on his technique. Walterscheid is the least likely to see early playing time because he really needs to add weight. He's got a 6'6" body, but he only has 210 pounds on his frame. He will probably need to add 20-30 pounds before he can be a consistent contributor.
Signee: 3-star Joyan Williams (Edna Karr; New Orleans, La.)
Analysis: Williams is another defensive-line prospect who has an abundance of raw talent, but he will probably see minimal playing time in 2014 as he works on his body and knowledge of the scheme. Look for Williams in a year or two, at which time he should be a key cog for Oklahoma State.
Signees: 4-star Gyasi Akem (Broken, Okla.), 3-star Devante Averette (Ellsworth C.C.), 3-star Josh Mabin (Klein Oak; Spring, Texas), 3-star Kirk Tucker (Tucker, Ga.), 3-star Justin Phillips (Pearland, Texas)
Analysis: Akem is the jewel of Oklahoma State's deep linebacker recruits. He is capable of making plays all over the field and could take over from Shaun Lewis as the team's biggest playmaker from the linebacker position.
Averette has the opportunity to garner immediate playing time, as he'll have the chance to learn the defense and show coaches his skills this spring as one of Oklahoma State's five early enrollees.
Mabin and Phillips won't see the field this season but remember their names for the coming years. Tucker might make a move to safety, though he could also play a hybrid role for the Pokes.
Signees: 3-star Chris Hardeman (Alief Taylor; Houston, Texas), 3-star Juwan Offray (Edna Karr; New Orleans, La.), 3-star Trevion Roberts (Eisenhower; Houston, Texas), 3-star Ramon Richards (Brackenridge; San Antonio, Texas)
Analysis: Hardeman probably has the most talent of the bunch and could get a few snaps a game this season. That said, he's probably most likely to contribute in the return game during the early parts of his career.
Offray will probably be a special teams player this season, but he could blossom into a quality corner given his speed. Roberts and Richards both come in as pure athletes and could move around during their career. However, they both have great size for the position and possess excellent ability with the ball in their hands.
Signees: 3-star Dylan Harding (Jenks, Okla.), 3-star D'Nerius Antoine (Trinity Valley C.C.)
Analysis: Even though Oklahoma State lost both of its starting safeties to graduation, it's unlikely that either Harding or Antoine will be in the lineup from day one. That said, both should contribute on special teams while developing their games for the future.
Antoine is also one of the better athletes coming out of the JUCO leagues, giving the Pokes even more depth at the returner position.
Signees: 3-star Zach Sinor (Medina Valley; Castroville, Texas)
Analysis: Sinor will sit behind Kip Smith for the 2014 season and work his way into the college game. He's a solid punter and could become a key component for Oklahoma State after Smith moves on.