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Projecting OSU’s 2018 Success Based on Star Power



Mike Gundy is getting set to embark on his 14th year at the helm of his alma mater with spring practice, the unofficial official start to 2018, already underway.

He’s already the most decorated and winningest head coach to ever brush back a mullet (or not to) in Stillwater. Now he looks to build on that legacy with whoever steps up to take the keys of OSU’s vaunted offense Spencer Sanders’ freshman Heisman campaign .

Much has been made over the years about Gundy and his staff’s ability to make the most out of the mid-tier recruiting classes they bring in, but you’ve got to have some dudes, especially at key positions. And they’ve had the right ones in most of the right places these last handful of years.

Recruiting is far from an exact science and star rankings are far from an absolute indicator of success at the college level — see James Washington and conversely Ra’Shaad Samples. John Kolar was a four-star recruit coming out of high school, yet he is tied with Chris Carson, Jalen McCleskey and Dillon Stoner in career pass attempts after two full seasons (2).

But over time, recruiting rankings do give us an idea of the level of talent Mike Gundy is working with and how far he’s taken it. And they might be able to help us as we try and project OSU’s success moving forward.

Is OSU’s future written in the stars?

Let’s take a look at the last three rosters based on the information available from 247Sports, and what type of success each team found. Then we will compare them to the upcoming 2018 team. We’re grading each roster by awarding one point per star on two-, three-, four- and five-star recruits (e.g., four stars equals four points, and so on) to create a composite score based on players who were ranked prospects.


Composite Score: 238

☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆
 0  9  62  8

Five Stars: None

Four Stars: Gyasi Akem, Marcell Ateman, Keenen Brown, Darrion Daniels, John Kolar, Derrick Moncrief (Sat due to transfer rules), Mason Rudolph. J.W. Walsh, Michael Wilson

Result: The Cowboys surged to a 10-0 start behind the one and a half-headed QB monster of Rudolph and Walsh before faltering down the stretch with losses to Baylor, OU and an artificially-fueled Ole Miss squad in the Sugar Bowl.


Composite Score: 249

☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆
 1  8 64  10

Five Star: Tyron Johnson (Sat due to transfer rules)

Four Stars: Gyasi Akem, Marcell Ateman, Keenen Brown, Darrion Daniels, John Kolar, Derrick Moncrief, Mason Rudolph, Barry J. Sanders

Result: The Pokes repeated a 10-3 record, but in a much different way. There was the loss that wasn’t to some directional school from Michigan, the loss that shouldn’t have been to a horrible Baylor team and, oh yeah, it rained in Norman one day.


Composite Score: 244

☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆
 1 8  67  5

Five Star: Tyron Johnson

Four Stars: Gyasi Akem, Marcell Ateman, Keenen Brown, Darrion Daniels, LC Greenwood (redshirt year), John Kolar, Mason Rudolph, Tylan Wallace

Result: Another disappointing 10-win season followed by another offseason Mike Gundy flirtation storyline. Both parts of that statement encapsulate OSU’s rise to another tier in the landscape of college football. But both are equally frustrating for fans.


Composite Score: 239

☆☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆
 1  6 68 3

Five Star: Tyron Johnson

Four Stars: Darrion Daniels, LC Greenwood, John Kolar, C.J. Moore, Spencer Sanders, Tylan Wallace

Result: TBD

The 2018 roster is obviously not set. This score is based on Oklahoma State’s 2018 spring roster as well as the 2018 signees that are not already on campus. Any transfer or other roster change would change the score but this just gives us a pretty clear view of where the Cowboys sit.

Spencer Sanders and C.J. Moore replace Mason Rudolph and Marcell Ateman in the four-star column. Gyasi Akem and Keenen Brown are also gone — Akem due to exhausted eligibility and Brown was simply missing from the spring roster following his junior season.

Again, a couple more four-star recruits don’t necessarily translate into 1-2 checks in the W column. The bigger questions are if OSU can finally start enjoying real production from Tyron Johnson and how quickly Spencer Sanders picks up the playbook and the speed of D-I football. And for all we know, Jim Knowles could start bringing four-star linebackers this winter.

But recruiting does matter and overall talent and what OSU does with it are definitely worth keeping track of.




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