Cowboy Football Does Way More With Less

Oklahoma State football is not known for landing big-time players, but rather getting the best football player regardless of recruiting ranking and developing them to be some of the best in the country.
Publish date:

STILLWATER -- The age-old argument surrounding Mike Gundy and his football program with some crotchety fans is he and his staff don't go out and recruit and land enough four and five star prospects year in and year out.

It was always kind of under the surface of nearly every recruiting conversation had by Cowboy fans or local media, but really blasted to the forefront when Oklahoma State vice-president for athletics and athletics director Mike Holder expressed his displeasure a few summers ago.

A graphic was sent out on Twitter by FOX College Football showing the four and five star recruits on each of the current (Oct. 4-10) AP Top 10 rosters. With Oklahoma State checking in at No. 10 in both the AP and Coaches Poll this week, they made the list.

FOX College Football is using the 247Sports Composite rankings. So for those of you that are wondering, the composite four stars that are currently on Oklahoma State's roster are:

  • WR: Dee Anderson*
  • WR: Langston Anderson
  • DL: Collin Clay*
  • RB: Deondrick Glass
  • QB: Shane Illingworth
  • QB: Spencer Sanders
  • WR: Tylan Wallace

Even though they use Chuba Hubbard in the graphic, 247 listed him as a four star, but he wasn't a composite four star.

As for Dee Anderson and Collin Clay, I gave them asterisks because they're transfers, but Oklahoma State did recruit Clay out of high school.

Of the four star recruits currently on the roster, three have seen significant playing time so far in 2020, with Illingworth helping lead the Cowboys to a 3-0 record and Spencer Sanders will likely be the starting quarterback in the next game against Baylor as he is 100% coming off an ankle injury in the opener with Tulsa.

Gundy and Co. also recruited and signed composite four stars Grayson Boomer, LC Greenwood and C.J. Moore before they transferred from the program.

As for recruiting four and five star prospects, here is the list of all the composite four star prospects Mike Gundy and Co. have signed since Gundy took over the program in 2005.

  • 2005: Ryan McBean
  • 2006: Ugo Chinasa
  • 2007: Richetti Jones, Dez Bryant, William Cole, Tonga Tea
  • 2008: Markelle Martin, Beau Johnson
  • 2009: Dexter Pratt, Anthony Morgan, Jeremy Smith, Daytawion Lowe
  • 2010: Shaun Lewis, Justin Gilbert, Joseph Randle, Caleb Lavey
  • 2011: JW Walsh, Herschel Sims
  • 2012: Michael Wilson, Wes Lunt
  • 2013: Ra'shaad Samples, Marcell Ateman, Naim Mustafaa
  • 2014: Tyreek Hill, Devon Thomas, Mason Rudolph
  • 2015: Darrion Daniels, John Kolar
  • 2016: None
  • 2017: Tylan Wallace
  • 2018: C.J. Moore, Spencer Sanders
  • 2019: Grayson Boomer, Deondrick Glass, Langston Anderson
  • 2020: Shane Illingworth
  • 2021 commits: Aden Kelley, Bryson Green

During Gundy's tenure as head coach, there have been 23 All-America selections. Of those 23 selections, only seven were earned by four star composites. Those have been marked with asterisks.

  • Dez Bryant - 2008*
  • Perrish Cox - 2008, 2009*
  • Kendall Hunter - 2008, 2010
  • Russell Okung - 2009
  • Quinn Sharp - 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Dan Bailey - 2010
  • Justin Blackmon - 2010, 2011
  • Levy Adcock - 2011
  • Brodrick Brown - 2011
  • Grant Garner - 2011
  • Markelle Martin - 2011*
  • Justin Gilbert - 2013*
  • Emmanuel Ogbah - 2015
  • Tre Flowers - 2017
  • James Washington - 2017
  • Mason Rudolph - 2017*
  • Tylan Wallace - 2018*
  • Chuba Hubbard - 2019

Of the 23 selections, 15 were earned by guys that came to Oklahoma State as three-star prospects or lower.

Gundy also produced five Big 12 Players of the Year at their respective position that were ranked as three-star prospects or lower.

  • Dez Bryant 2008 Special Teams*
  • Dan Bailey 2010 Special Teams
  • Justin Blackmon 2010 Offense
  • Quinn Sharp 2011, 2012 Special Teams
  • Emmanuel Ogbah 2015 Defense

There have also been five major college football awards won by Oklahoma State players that weren't ranked real high out of high school:

  • Matt Fodge 2008 Ray Guy Award
  • Dan Bailey 2010 Lou Groza Award
  • Justin Blackmon 2010, 2011 Biletnikoff Award
  • Mason Rudolph 2017 Johnny Unitas Award*
  • James Washington 2017 Biletnikoff Award.

There's no doubt a decent amount of the four star prospects recruited and signed by Oklahoma State during Gundy's tenure have gone on to have great success in the program and beyond. There have been several conference and national awards/honors won and quiet a few went on to play in the NFL and have success. There's no question they have greatly added to the prestige of the Oklahoma State football program.

But what Mike Gundy and his staff have proven over the last 15 years is they know how to recruit good, under-the-radar high school football players, maximize their development (Rob Glass and his staff really help)and turn them into great college and professional football players.