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The Rundown: What Mike Gundy Said About His 2020 Class on Signing Day

A breakdown of what Mike Gundy had to say about his 2020 class.



STILLWATER — A fax machine in Stillwater produced 18 letters so far Wednesday.

Oklahoma State’s 2020 class put pen to paper on the first day of the early signing period, and coach Mike Gundy met with reporters Wednesday morning to discuss the first 18 members of his latest signing class.

Before we cipher through everything Gundy said, here are some things to know off the bat.

There are three players listed on recruiting sites as athletes: Brennan Presley, Zach Middleton and Rashod Owens. Presley and Owens will play receiver, but Gundy is unsure on where Middleton could go. Gundy mentioned Middleton has played running back, in the slot and safety in high school.

“He can run the ball, he can catch the ball, he’s in the return game, he can do a lot of things,” Gundy said. “He was a successful player on defense, too, as a safety.”

With that squared away, here with what Gundy said about his 2020 class.

• “Got another class in. We’re fired up about our group. Our coaches and support staff, administration, everybody that’s involved in OSU athletics, players, people that donate airplanes for us to fly around the country have all played a role in this. The community here in Stillwater’s been awesome. We continue to bring families in from across the country, and they always say how friendly and what a warm place Stillwater is. All those things are huge for us.

“Most of the players that are on this list we’ve been working for over a year, some for two years. It’s good to get them in the organization, in our culture. Excited about getting a few of them in at semester. Then the rest of them will be coming in in June.

“We still have a few spots that we could fill, maybe, over the next few months. Just depends on what’s out there, depends on positions, a lot of different things. Really hard to say what that would be at this time, but we do have some spots. There’s a couple guys that we’ve been on for a long, long time that have chosen to make a decision in February. When that happens, we’ll continue to recruit them.

“Overall, I think this is a really, really, good class like I do every year. I’m excited about what they bring to the table. They’ve been with us a long, long time. Can’t wait to get them here and get them started.”

• On the latest commits, linebacker Mason Cobb and wide receiver Rashod Owens: “Well first off with Mason, he’s 225 pounds, he’s a tough guy, comes from a great family, grew up with a bunch of brothers in the same house, and we’re hoping that his nature and demeanor, he’s a little bit of a throwback, his toughness, his willingness to strike people. I think he’s very committed to himself and to the organization that he’ll be involved in. So, we’re really excited about him being a part.

“With Rashod, he’s a football player, he’s a basketball player and he’s a triple jumper. That’s been a good combination for us in the past. Not as heavily recruited, but we’ve liked him for a while. The more you watch him as he finishes up, you like his demeanor, the way he handles himself, he’s been a quality person and he does a lot of things that we like athletically.”

• On how he judges the recruiting ability of a coach in the hiring process: “Truthfully, two years later, depending on how the players develop. That is a difficult process. I couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve sat in recruiting meetings and looked at players that are playing for us now, that have been really successful, and in those meetings, on the same young men two years ago, we were deciding whether we thought they were good enough. Then they end up being a starter early in their career. Then you bring in guys that may have a lot of stars, and they come in and they’re nowhere near being ready. And they end up not being good enough based on their demeanor, how they adjust to college, how important it is to them. It’s hard.

“A couple years later you get an idea of how they do. But with Sean, with Mike (Yurcich), the reason they’re here is because they’re tireless workers, they’re dedicated, they get it, they understand. If they have that part, then the rest of it, they gotta go out and do the best job that they can of evaluating a young man, not only athletically, but whether he can maintain and do a good job while he’s here in school.”

• On offensive line coach Charlie Dickey’s impact on recruiting: “The one side of recruiting that’s changed considerably the last four, five, six years is, I’m gonna say 75 percent of the reason young men go to a school is based on their position coach now. Years ago we used to recruit geographically. Now, with technology, it’s easier to recruit position-wise. The position coaches do a good job of building relationships with the players. In most cases, they’ll make a decision based on the position coach because that’s who they spend the most time with during their career.

“We have an advantage with Rob Glass in strength and conditioning because they all know that they get him 11 months out of the year. That’s huge for us. There are no limitations, to a certain extent on what he can do. Then it’s the position coach who’s next.

“Coach Dickey has a tremendous reputation. He’s very down to earth, what you see is what you get. He’s honest, and he’s had a history of taking really good care of players he’s coached both on and off the field during his career. That pays dividends for you in recruiting.”

• On the offensive line signees: “There’s a lot of size. Trent (Pullen), I think he’s 265 or 268 (pounds) now, he’s gonna be 290 and probably end up playing inside, which is big enough based on his strengths, which is his ability to move his feet. A lot of these guys depend on how they develop. We’ve had guys come in at 265 and go to 310. It just depends on how they develop.

“Overall this is like our fourth year in a row of a solid offensive line class. We went years where we were struggling. Once we get out there in August, we’re gonna have a number of offensive line guys. Coach Glass is starting to churn them through the program. You’ll start to see the benefits of that probably within this year of the next year, where you get young guys that are developed.”

• On offensive line signee Cade Bennett: “It’s interesting, he comes from a family that’s just as gentle and nice as they could be, very soft-spoken, and he’s soft-spoken. But he’s exactly what you’re looking for because when they flip the film on or you get rolling in the game, he’s into it. He’s nasty, and that’s the type of linemen you have to have.”

• On signing players from California, Arizona and Utah: “Quarterback-wise, you go all over the country. You go everywhere and try to find whatever’s out there. That’s the one position where you can draw a guy in from just about anywhere. There’s not as many quarterback scholarships because most of your schools take one, some of them don’t take one every year. So, you can go out and find them wherever. Their numbers, population is big out there. They play year-round. Their weather’s good. They’re in 7-on-7 year-round. There’s just a lot more people to choose from out there than there are in this part of the country.”

• On offensive lineman Eli Russ, who had the longest commitment in the class: “It’s difficult now, the games that are played in recruiting. When we get young men that are committed to us that buy into our culture, that we buy into them, we have a trust and an agreement. It’s very appreciative. You still have young men that play games, for lack of a better term, which is part of it. Then you have quality people like Eli Russ, who has been committed to us for a long time and everybody takes their shots at him, and he stays with us. In most cases, the young men that do that, they have success in college because they’re squared away. They get it. The ones that play games and back in and back out and all that, most of the time they’re caught up too much in themselves and worried about themselves than they are the team. Eli is the opposite of that.”

• On defensive tackle Grant Mahon: “He’s back and playing. He’s 268 pounds. I was down there and saw him a couple of weeks ago. He’s done very well. He’s in a great organization with (Denton Guyer) Coach (John) Walsh. We’re excited about him and excited about getting him in here. He’s listed at 265. That’s what he is right now. He’ll go 285 in a year.”

• On wide receiver Matt Polk, whose father Raymond Polk played at OSU in the early 80s: “(Raymond) was here way before my time. I reminded him of that. Once we found out about the tie and started communicating with him, he loves OSU like most people that have been here. We’ve done a really good job of bringing alumni back over the last 10 or 12 years, so that’s starting to grow. (Raymond) was here five or six years before I was, but he certainly played a role in getting his son.”

• On junior college defensive end Tyren Irby: “He’s a little bit more ready-made, he’s older. He’s at about 240 now, and I think he’ll be 260 by August. He’s got good foot speed. I’m hoping that as he develops his strengths and ability that he’ll be a pass-rush threat for us off the edge.”

• On if OSU’s signing class is done for Wednesday: “We could have one or two more show up, but I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

• On Cowboy back Quinton Stewart: “We’re really excited about him. He’s got a lot of the same characteristics as Bennett, talking about him. I think he’s a tough guy. I think that he is excited about his future. I think he’s very mature. He comes from a very stable home life. He’s really squared away. I think he’s gonna put on 20 pounds. I think he’s gonna be a tough guy. You have to be a tough guy to play Cowboy back here. It’s not for everybody. He’s a tough guy, and he’s squared away in his life and he knows what he wants to do. I’m excited about him getting here.”

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