Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon may be gone, but head coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State look poised for a quick rebound.
A big recruiting week for the Cowboys saw five 2013 players commit to Stillwater, highlighted by four-star defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.
Taylor was about to commit to Big 12 rival Baylor before a late offer from Oklahoma State forced him to reconsider. He declared for the Cowboys on Wednesday.
"(Oklahoma State co-defensive coordinator) Glenn Spencer told me that one of their defensive tackles was transferring," Taylor told Scout.com. "He told me when he heard that, I was the first person he called. He said I would get a chance to fight for that open spot."
Taylor is the No. 25-ranked defensive tackle in Scout's 2013 class and is the prize of the Cowboys' recruiting efforts so far.
The other headliner is three-star quarterback Luke Del Rio, son of NFL assistant coach Jack Del Rio, who committed to Oklahoma State on Thursday.
Del Rio moved from Florida to Colorado this winter after his father took a job with the Denver Broncos. He chose the Cowboys just days after talking to Scout about the challenges of picking up his recruiting in a new state.
The Cowboys' quarterback situation is in flux after the graduation of Weeden, and Gundy has already named a true freshman -- fellow three-star Wes Lunt -- the starter in 2012, which means Del Rio will have his work cut out for him when he arrives on campus in 2013.
"I’m going to do everything in my power to compete with him once I get on campus, and do my best to learn the playbook as quickly as possible," Del Rio told GoPokes.com. "In my opinion, the best player at each position earns the starting spot, and you have to earn that starting position each and every year."
The draw to Gundy was no doubt an appealing aspect for Del Rio. Gundy himself was a quarterback at Oklahoma State from 1986 to 1989, and he recently restructured his contract to add four more years to his deal.
"I can’t think of a better coaching staff in the country," Del Rio told GoPokes.com. "Coach Gundy’s style and philosophy is perfect for a quarterback who likes to throw the football, and I believe it will help prepare me for the next level."
Two other three-stars were among the week's haul for Oklahoma State -- safety Jordan Sterns, who committed the same day as Taylor, and offensive tackle Zach Crabtree, who committed Tuesday.
Two-star safety Deric Robertson was the first of the week's commits, making it official on Monday.
It will be an interesting transition year for the Cowboys, who are coming off a one-loss season that saw them nearly play for the BCS title. But with the losses of Weeden and Blackmon to the NFL, there are plenty of holes to fill on the offense. Many unofficial preseason rankings have the Cowboys ranked in the middle to bottom of the top 25.
Four four-star offensive players are coming in with the 2012 class -- which should help fill the void -- and now Oklahoma State has a firm footing for 2013's crop as well, with eight recruits committed, three of them at the four-star level.
Around the country:
The nation's No. 12 tight end, three-star A.J. Jackson, picked Auburn.
Defensive tackle Maataua Brown went with BYU, the second JUCO player in two weeks to commit to the Cougars.
Three-star guard Ira Denson, who put on one of the spring's most memorable performances gave his verbal to Florida State.
Another three-star guard, Jeremi Hall, will stay in his home state and attend Georgia Tech.
Illinois landed a commitment from three-star cornerback Reon Dawson.
Two-star defensive end Marquis Haynes committed to Louisville.
LSU kept going strong, picking up two big commitments from four-stars, one from offensive tackle Ethan Pocic and another from defensive end Frank Herron. JUCO tight end Logan Stokes also committed.
Miami (OH) got its first 2013 commit -- two-star quarterback Tommy Tupa.
Defensive end Marcus Loud is going to Missouri.
Rutgers slipped one in late last week after we had published -- three-star wide receiver John Tsimis.
SMU scored its third commit in two weeks, this time getting two-star linebacker Roderick Moore.
Another nice week for South Carolina as the Gamecocks scoop up three-star cornerback Ali Groves and JUCO linebacker Brandon Golson.
A two-star quarterback committed to Syracuse for the second time in 10 days as Zach Allen went with the Orange.
Two-star offensive tackle Shane Rafter is Temple's first commit of 2013.
Vanderbilt picked up a solid quarterback commit from three-star Chad Kanoff.
Two pick-ups for Virginia: three-star linebacker LaChaston Smith and two-star cornerback Hipolito Corporan.