Connect with us


Spencer: Graduate Transfers are ‘Careful’ Process but ‘Great Story’



Tyler Patmon, Josh Furman, Lenzy Pipkins and now Adrian Baker and Aaron Cochran fall under the same tricky umbrella: graduate transfers who might be coveted but can’t be pursued.

“You gotta be careful,” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “Can’t recruit ’em. Can’t scout ’em.”

As it happens, fifth-year graduate transfers don’t go through any sort of recruitment process, which means guys like Baker and Aaron Cochran, an offensive lineman from Cal, all come to Oklahoma State organically.

When Patmon was looking to come to OSU from Kansas, his dad gave Spencer a call.

“Hey, my son is looking for a place to go,” Spencer said he remembers Patmon’s dad saying. “They’ve had a regime change up there, and he’s not one of their guys.”

There was nothing Spencer could do.

“We can’t talk to him,” Spencer said. “He’s on scholarship there. If he gets his release and he wants to transfer, then we can talk.”

Coaches or athletics staff members or representatives can’t contact student-athletes directly or indirectly without a transfer release or written permission from the athletics director, according to rule in the NCAA rule book.

In this case, OSU also wouldn’t be allowed to encourage Patmon to transfer or provide athletically related financial aid “until the student-athlete has attended the second institution for one academic year,” per the rule. Then it becomes “a two-way street,” Spencer said, to see whether the supply and demand lines up.

“You have to have something they’re looking for and vice versa,” he said. “We have to be looking for what they can give us, too.”

After that, onboarding a graduate transfer becomes like recruiting a high schooler.

“You have to thoroughly vet that kid,” Spencer said. “You have to get inside his mind. ‘Why are you doing this?'”

Spencer said OSU isn’t a place where graduate transfers should come because it’s easier than where they came from, and it’s not a place where the players set the rules. That includes buying into the culture or at least accepting it.

One of the first trips Spencer takes after learning about a graduate transfer’s interest in coming to OSU is down to the weight room to see strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass. Spencer tells Glass what’s up, and Glass gets on the phone with that school’s strength coach.

“How’d he work?” Glass asks, Spencer said.

If it’s a matter of excess talent and not lack of effort, it’s a go. At least it was with Josh Furman.

Furman redshirted his first year on campus at Michigan. He was a four-star safety who received offers from Oklahoma, North Carolina, the Wolverines and others. He was fairly valuable player in Ann Arbor but was a graduate transfer for his senior season. Furman got on the phone with Patmon and asked about the legitimacy of the program, how much Spencer had used Patmon on defense and the culture. In one year at OSU, Furman had 64 tackles, including seven for losses, seven sacks and a forced fumble.

Then came Michael Hunter Jr. from Indiana. Then Pipkins from Louisiana-Monroe. And Baker from reigning national champion Clemson for the 2017 season.

OSU has had a ton of success attracting graduate transfers and so have plenty of other universities. It’s become a trendsetting way to recruit in college football.

“So that’s why I don’t think it’s gonna last much longer,” Spencer said.

Until it’s banned by the NCAA though, Spencer said it’s about working hard in getting those players to Stillwater, upholding their reputation, giving opportunities and being honest with them.

“It’s a great story,” Spencer said. “It really is. And it’s something we’re proud of. It’s gotten us a lot of great players.”

Most Read