Big Board: Oklahoma State’s Targets at Cornerback

Tanner McCalister is priority No. 1. (Credit: Scout)
Written by Kyle Boone

Of Oklahoma State’s 22-man 2017 signing class in February, none were true cornerbacks who strictly played the position in high school. Players like Lamarcus Morton and Kris McCune played the position in high school, however both frequented other positions as well — Morton being a standout receiver, and McCune playing more in the secondary as a safety.

In the spring, Morton debuted as an early enrollee at cornerback and will likely stick there. However McCune could play a number of positions in Stillwater, which leaves OSU searching for talent at cornerback again in the 2018 class as the Cowboys seek to replace Ashton Lampkin and Lenzy Pipkins, and eventually Clemson transfer Adrian Baker.

Continuing with our Big Board series that evaluates OSU’s top targets for the class, here are OSU’s options at 2018 that have already been offered.

Quarterback | Running back  | Wide Receiver | Linebacker | Defensive line | Safety

Jalen Green — Houston, Texas

Oklahoma State made the initial cut for four-star Houston Heights standout Jalen Green, who named the Pokes in his top 13. The U.S. Army All-American has 37 scholarship offers, and his top list includes Texas, Oregon, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and LSU among others.

At 6-1, Green has good size for a cornerback and is physical off the line with receivers. He’s a major target who will compete in The Opening Finals put on by Nike at the World Headquarters in Oregon later this summer.

Verone McKinley III — Carrolton, Texas

Verone McKinley III was an early-riser in recruiting, garnering more than 20 offers before he hit his sophomore season. Big schools like Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Alabama and Clemson have all been on board for quite some time, and OSU is battling with the heavyweights to land his services.

McKinley III has made multiple visits to Stillwater on an unofficial basis, and the four-star standout named the Pokes in his top nine schools earlier this spring. He transferred from Plano Prestonwood to Hebron last summer in hopes of targeting an early graduation from high school to become a December graduate and early enrollee at his college destination.

Tanner McCalister — Rockwall, Texas

The Big 12 has been all over Rockwall-Heath cornerback Tanner McCalister this spring, and OSU might be standing above the competition. McCalister made a recent visit to OSU this spring where he spoke glowingly to Scout about his time in Stillwater.

“OSU was great. Coach (Tim) Duffie really showed me a great time. It was my first time in Stillwater and it won’t be my last.

“It was one of my favorite campuses,” McCalister continued. “The coaches showed a genuine interest in me and that is what stood out.”

TCU has offered and Baylor, which has received a visit from the three-star two-way player, has not offered but has shown strong interest. Look for OSU in McCalister’s recruitment, as 247sports currently projects the Cowboys as the favorite.

Eddie Smith — Slidell, Louisiana

Two-way standout Eddie Smith was offered recently as a cornerback by OSU along with Texas Tech, and the three-star prospect from Louisiana is nearing 20 offers.

Smith trains with J.J. McCleskey, the father of wide receiver Jalen, and he says that connection has helped his familiarity with the program.

“I’ll build a relationship with coach Duffie after a while,” Smith told Scout. “It’s a great program. My trainer’s son plays for their team, so I watch them a lot.”

Smith has not visited OSU yet but says he wants to in the near future.

Delrick Abrams Jr. — Independence C.C.

OSU and West Virginia are the latest programs to throw their hat in the ring for junior college standout Delrick Abrams, who also holds offers from Arkansas, Colorado and Mississippi State. Abrams is slated to become a December graduate and could be a welcome face for a program like OSU who could use an experienced player like him.

OSU is relying on youth in 2017 with Madre Harper, Rodarius Williams and AJ Green — all second year guys — slated to take on major roles in the defense. Abrams would be a junior and could play in 2018.

JayVeon Cardwell — Cibolo, Texas

OSU whiffed on one Steele standout (younger brother of Jordan Sterns, Caden, who committed to Texas), but it isn’t done fishing in the 2018 hole at Steele. 2018 cornerback JayVeon Cardwell is a major prospect with more than a dozen offers. He recently said he has no favorites in his recruitment.

To this point, OSU is one of his biggest offers. But I get the feeling he’s betting on himself and his recruitment to take off in the summer months. Ole Miss recently extended an offer, and programs like TCU, Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas are on notice officially. If in-state programs turn their nose up on him, OSU could be a real contender.