Oklahoma State signs 23, but Broyles gets away

Wednesday, February 7th 2007, 11:43 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy found little to complain about Wednesday when it came to the Cowboys' 23-player recruiting class.

The Cowboys, buoyed by a 7-6 finish and an Independence Bowl win over Alabama, filled practically every need they had, Gundy said. But it was the potential 24th player _ the one the Cowboys lost at the last minute to in-state rival Oklahoma _ that became a hot topic of discussion.

Norman High School product Ryan Broyles initially had orally committed to Oklahoma State, and it looked as if the Cowboys would pull off a rare feat _ signing a player who lived in the same town in which OU is located.

But in recent days, Broyles _ considered one of the nation's top prep cornerbacks _ wavered. First, he changed his commitment to Oklahoma, then, after a late push by Oklahoma State, went back to the Cowboys. But Wednesday, he reversed course again and signed with the Sooners.

Gundy said NCAA rules prevented him from commenting directly about Broyles. But he said there ``aren't any surprises'' in Oklahoma State's recruiting class, an apparent hint that Gundy expected Broyles to sign elsewhere.

Gundy said the pressure on recruits _ much of it due to intense media coverage and speculation _ means ``there will always be players who will change their mind ... and you have to be prepared for that.''

The Cowboys' signing list had a heavy Texas flavor, as 16 players came from the Lone Star State _ the result of geography and population patterns, Gundy said. Oklahoma State signed three in-state players: defensive lineman Quinton Prince from Heritage Hall High School in Oklahoma City, linebacker Jared Glover of Bixby and wide receiver Josh Cooper of Mustang.

``We always try to be as thorough as we can be in the state,'' Gundy said.

``Jared Glover could be a standup linebacker or defensive end and Josh Cooper can do a whole lot of things. Quinton Prince is a 300-pound athlete.''

The two most highly regarded players in the class are defensive end Richetti Jones, who played at Dallas Lincoln High School, and wide receiver Desmond Bryant from Lufkin, Texas. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Jones lost part of his senior season to a hip injury but still had 82 tackles and 12 sacks. He also had scholarship offers from Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and Notre Dame.

At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, Bryant is considered a consensus national top 100 prospect. As a senior, he caught 53 passes for 1,207 yards and 21 touchdowns. Others recruiting Bryant included Louisiana State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Texas A&M.

The Cowboys stocked up at wide receiver, signing Bryant, Cooper, Hubert Anyiam of Garland, Texas, and Damian Davis of Mart, Texas.

Junior-to-be Bobby Reid and sophomore-to-be Zac Robinson are entrenched as the Cowboys' top two quarterbacks, so Oklahoma State signed no players at that position, and with their top two rushers _ Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston _ also returning, the Cowboys signed only one running back, Kendall Hunter of Tyler, Texas.

But there is a caveat. The Cowboys plan to use Cedar Hill, Texas, product William Cole as a cornerback, but Cole led Cedar Hill to a Class 5A state title last season, rushing for almost 2,900 yards and passing for more than 1,600 yards. Cole could be converted to offense if necessary, although Gundy didn't seem interested in discussing that possibility Wednesday.

Gundy also is high on safeties Adrian Moore of Pine Bluff, Ark., and James Thomas of LaMarque, Texas.

``We needed skill positions on both sides of the ball,'' Gundy said. We felt we needed two safeties in this group. We needed depth at that position. ... We needed wide receivers because we are going to lose quite a few guys next year. Because of the system we have in place here, it was very important to get several wide receivers in this group to give them a year to learn the system. Some of them might be able to compete as freshman. If so, we will play them.''

Oklahoma State also signed four defensive lineman _ a group led by Jones _ and three offensive linemen in an attempt to shore up the team's depth in those areas.

``The only position where we would have liked to have added more is the offensive line,'' Gundy said. ``We signed three, and we would have liked to have added four. We did not feel the pool at that position was as great this year in Oklahoma and Texas. We will have to make up for that next year.''

Three players already have enrolled at Oklahoma State and will be able to participate in spring practice _ freshmen Kenny Alexander, a linebacker, and Deron Fontenot, a safety, and 6-foot, 315-pound defensive lineman Tonga Tea Jr., a transfer from Snow (Utah) Junior College.

``Tea can help us immediately,'' Gundy said.