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Linebacker Collin Oliver Represents Something That’s Lacked in OSU’s Recruiting: Defensive Stars

Why Edmond Santa Fe’s stud LB could be a big benefit to OSU.



It has flown under the radar over the past week, but Oklahoma State might be about to do something it very rarely does: Land a highly ranked talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Kyle Boone wrote on Monday about OSU’s chances of getting in-state linebacker Collin Oliver (spoiler: good), and it got me thinking about the way Oklahoma State recruits on defense.

When we talk about the top talent OSU has landed in recent years, we’re really talking almost exclusively on the offensive side. From Deondrick Glass to Spencer Sanders to C.J. Moore, OSU lands its four-star guys on offense. This makes sense in the Big 12 and for what OSU has been in recent years, especially at quarterback, where it’s most important to have four-star talent.

But it also leaves a void on defense, which OSU has plugged with all the versatile defensive backs it can possibly find (to varying degrees of success).

Anyway, I decided to do a recent mini-deep dive on defensive talent, and what I found was a bit surprising. Here’s a list of the top-rated defensive players (everyone above a .880 rating, which is roughly a top-400 player nationally) OSU has landed in the last 10 years (since the class of 2011).

Player Class Nat. Rank Rating Stars
Gyasi Akem 2014 214 0.9163 4
Darrion Daniels 2015 269 0.9032 4
Naim Mustafa 2013 298 0.8959 4
Trace Ford 2019 389 0.8897 3
Jordan Brailford 2014 334 0.8894 3
Chris Hardeman 2014 345 0.8879 3
Dominic Ramacher 2012 403 0.8873 3
Sean Michael Flanagan 2018 418 0.8858 3
Seth Jacobs 2012 428 0.8842 3
Lyndell Johnson 2011 314 0.8836 3
Jerel Morrow 2013 370 0.8814 3
Trey Carter 2014 399 0.8807 3
Vincent Taylor 2013 377 0.8801 3

OSU gets about one top-400 player per year on the defensive side (compared to three or more on offense — I haven’t done the exact math). I think this is about what we would have expected, so that’s not the surprising part.

Many of these players went on to be either impact guys at OSU or pros (often both). Again, not surprising. The more highly rated a recruit is coming in, the better his chances are of making it to the NFL.

The surprising part comes in when you look at Oliver’s ranking and rating. He’s the 340th-ranked player in the country (fourth in Oklahoma) and with a rating of .8901, he would slide in at No. 4 (!) on this list of recent stud defensive recruits right at Trace Ford’s level (which is a very good level to be at).

This is good and — given the OSU buzz around him — could be a nice trend for OSU. The Cowboys still only have three players in the 2021 class (none in the top 500 so far) and an early stud could lead to more down the road.

If the above list is any indication, the short-term impact of adding more defensive players like this could be substantial. Obviously, OSU has to actually land Oliver, but if it does, it will have landed one of its five best defensive players in the last decade.

*Photo via Go Pokes

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