10 Recruits Mike Gundy Must Land for Oklahoma State Cowboys
The Oklahoma State Cowboys have one very important game left to be played, but that doesn't mean we can't already begin looking to the team's future.
OK State is going to be losing quite a few keys guys going into the 2012 season, most notably at the quarterback and wide receiver spots.
Head coach Mike Gundy has put together a solid recruiting class so far, but with only a few months away, he has a chance to put together a top-25 class.
However, the only way he can do that is nabbing some highly touted recruits by using the team's current success to build for the future.
Which athletes must Mike Gundy sign before they get gobbled up by other programs? Read on to find out.
Brandon Taylor, QB
Mike Gundy has already added a talented quarterback to the Oklahoma State Cowboys' 2012 recruiting class in Wes Lunt.
Plus, just last year he added one of the best dual-threat QBs from 2011, J.W. Walsh.
Finally, Brandon Weeden's backup, Clint Chelf, is just a sophomore.
After all that, you're probably wondering why the Cowboys should go after a guy like Brandon Taylor. He's only ranked as a 3-star prospect on ESPN, and he's not tall enough to be a prototype signal-caller or athletic enough to be a dual-threat.
However, competition breeds excellence.
Taylor's ceiling isn't as high as some of the other guys Gundy already has waiting in the wings, but he is a very smart young man who can throw the ball with great accuracy.
He's not going to change the program, but he will push the other quarterbacks to get better.
Thaddeus LaGrone, S
In the 2012 season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will be without one of the better safeties in the nation, Markelle Martin.
Martin's instinctive play and hard-hitting style has served the Cowboys well, and he will be greatly missed as he transitions to the NFL.
Without him, the Cowboys are left with a spot to fill in their secondary.
Thaddeus LaGrone might not be the force Martin was, but he plays that same kind of instinctive football that made Martin a fan favorite.
LaGrone is only a 2-star prospect, and the Cowboys might be content with playing Lyndell Johnson at the strong safety spot, but if Mike Gundy wants to find his next Markelle Martin, he might have him in Thaddeus LaGrone.
Kisima Jagne, DE
Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick are both seniors, and the depth behind them is decent, but Oklahoma State could definitely stand to add at least one more playmaker along the defensive line.
That's where a guy like Kisima Jagne comes in.
The young man has an excellent frame, with good bulk and a solid wingspan.He looks to easily be able to add some more size and his raw talent at pursuing the ball-carrier is something that could be built upon with the right coaching
Jagne is only a 3-star prospect on ESPN, but his skills along the defensive line could lessen the sting of losing both Jones and Blatnick.
Jehu Chesson, WR
At 6'3", 182, with great hands and excellent route-running, Jehu Chesson is a player any program would covet.
He's only a 3-star recruit on ESPN, but the young wide receiver has all the tools to become the next great OK State possession receiver.
Think a taller version of Josh Cooper, and that's what Chesson could give the Cowboys.
However, he has deceptive speed and could, in time, develop into Oklahoma State's next big thing.
I'm not saying the kid has Justin Blackmon-like skills yet, but keep in mind that Blackmon was even less highly rated than Chesson is right now.
Taiwan Johnson, DE
As I said earlier, the Cowboys are losing two standout defensive ends and will need to reload with this year's recruiting class.
The Cowboys do already have three defensive end prospects coming, and adding one or two more might be too much of a good thing.
That said, you can't pass up a talent like Taiwan Johnson.
He's a big guy, with plenty of room to grow. Johnson is excellent at stopping the run and possesses great strength for his position.
Getting Johnson and Kisima Jagne both might be a bit of overkill for Mike Gundy's recruiting class, but having depth along the defensive line is never a bad thing, especially in a pass-happy conference like the Big 12.
Timothy Hines, OT
I'm about to say something that may make some Oklahoma State fans faint: Five of the Cowboys' offensive linemen are seniors.
This veteran-laden group has gone a long way towards helping the team get to where it is today, but Mike Gundy is going to have to add some key players along the line to keep the team competitive.
That's where Timothy Hines comes in. At 6'4" and 305 pounds, he's already a mountain of man, but he has the frame to add even more bulk.
He's a great run-blocker with amazing strength and physicality at the point of attack.
It's going to take a collective effort from the entire line to replicate the success the 2011 version had, but getting a player like Hines would go a long way towards showing the kind of contender Gundy is building in Stillwater.
Alex Kozan, OG
Given all the talent the Cowboys are losing along the line after this season, Alex Kozan would be a huge pickup for Gundy's squad.
Kozan is a big body with ideal size for the guard position. He's a great blocker in both the passing and rushing game.
His level of athleticism makes him a better fit at offensive guard, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him plugged into other spots early on in his career.
Kozan is the first 4-star prospect on this list as rated by ESPN.com, but far from the last.
With his high ranking comes a lot of competition for his services, but the Cowboys look to have a legitimate chance at bringing him to Stillwater.
Javonte Magee, DT
Even though the Cowboys have done a good job of bringing in some solid defensive linemen with this class, they've yet to grab a guy with the potential of Javonte Magee.
Magee is a giant in the middle of the defensive line at 6'6". Given that size, he might make a change to defensive end, but wherever he plays he's sure to be a force for Oklahoma State.
Gundy needs to go out and make a statement by pulling in a defensive talent like Magee. Getting him would put a real stamp on this class on the defensive side of the ball.
The Cowboys have six defensive prospects in this class, and it would be awesome to put a gem like Javonte Magee on top of the solid players already coming to OK State.
Barry Sanders Jr., RB
The Cowboys already have three quality running backs on the team in Joseph Randle, Jeremy Smith and Herschel Sims. However, they can't pass up a talent like Barry Sanders Jr.
As crazy as it seems, he will legitimately remind fans of his famous dad. His vision is off the charts and he brings great speed along with an elite ability to make people miss.
He lacks ideal size, but so did Barry Sanders Sr., and that turned out pretty well.
Sanders Jr. is one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation, but he's already narrowed his list down to four or five teams.
Oklahoma State is among those teams, and Mike Gundy has to do everything in his power to bring this amazing running back into the program.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR
Dorial Green-Beckham might be the best prospect in the nation.
That means it's going to be very difficult for the Cowboys to land him, but, given the program's recent success, they might have legitimate chance to get this guy in Stillwater.
Green-Beckham is one of the best wide receivers prospects I've ever seen. He does everything well and has almost no weaknesses in his game.
ESPN calls him a "hybrid of Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson."
He's a player who can make an entire class, and would give the Cowboys an heir apparent to Justin Blackmon.