Cowboy Targets: Offensive & Defensive Linemen

The "Cowboy Targets" series is actually a story that will appear in the 2012 Football Preview Edition of Go Pokes Magazine. But we decided to make it an early summer series for's Premium subscribers. This is the second installment which includes offensive and defensive linemen.

We are currently in a critical portion of the recruiting season at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys, under the leadership of head coach Mike Gundy the last eight years, normally collect a sizeable share of their commitments for their upcoming recruiting class during this period.

The evaluation period is almost over for the Cowboys coaching staff. The assistant coaches have compiled even more information and on-site evaluations to go with the junior recruiting they did while finishing up the previous recruiting class and the steady diet of watching video since the start of February when the coaching staff was back on campus. They have collected further information through the efforts of recruiting director Johnny Barr and his assistant Terrell Smith.

Now the Cowboys are in the midst of hosting their own camps and then being out on the road as guest instructors at various camps, many in Texas.

Expect a steady flow of prospects coming through Stillwater with their parents and high school coaches on unofficial visits. This is the busiest time for those to take place. It is through all of those activities that you can normally expect at least one-third of your class to make their verbal commitment.

The numbers have varied in the recruiting classes put together under Gundy and his staff, ranging from just three summer pledges (May through August) in 2009 to a whopping 13 commitments during the summer of 2010.

Here is a look at the numbers for each recruiting class below. We did not list Gundy's first class as that group was being recruited under Les Miles in the summer of 2004.

OSU Summer Commitments
2012 - 6 commitments
2011 - 7 commitments
2010 - 13 commitments
2009 - 3 commitments
2008 - 10 commitments
2007 - 8 commitments
2006 - 10 commitments

Below we profile the prospects that Oklahoma State already has pledged for the 2013 class, we take a look at targets, players we feel the Cowboys have a high interest in and that also have a mutual interest in the Cowboys. Many of these will be on campus at some point in the summer or will be in a camp where an Oklahoma State coach is guest instructing. There is contact throughout the summer as prospects can always make contact with coaches.

You will notice a mixture of prospects that are high profile with those of less renown, and that is typical as Oklahoma State is not what we call a "list" recruiting school. Like all schools they subscribe to research and they pay attention to national services, but as Mike Gundy and Johnny Barr have often said to me and other members of the recruiting media, "if a DVD is sent to our office, then it gets watched."

Many times that policy of checking every piece of material sent their way has led to prospects being put up on their board and eventually committed and signed as Cowboys.

Cowboy Commitments
Marcell Ateman, WR
6-4, 190, 4.5
Wylie (East), Texas
He had to be one of the top choices at the wide receiver position as he shows the ability to get wide open and at the same time is a big target. The other plus in watching him in action is he is good both in the short passing game with yards after catch as well as the vertical passing game. He plays hard even when he is not the primary receiver on the play and he is seen making effective blocks downfield. He visited Oklahoma State and was sold, choosing the Cowboys over the likes of Arkansas, Baylor, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Washington State. You always like getting a receiver that Mike Leach wanted.

Jack Kurzu, OL
6-5, 302, NA
St. Louis (Mary Institute), Mo.
He is a Joe Wickline-type of inside linemen as he is shown on tape overpowering blockers one on one. He is really adept at run blocking and is good on his feet in pulls and folds. He will need work on pass protection, but show me a high school offensive lineman that doesn't need work on pass blocking. The Cowboys got him when he had a few offers but Florida, Georgia Tech, and Stanford were on the verge. He is an honor student at a brilliant academic school.

Fred Ross, WR
6-0, 180, 4.5
Tyler (John Tyler), Texas
The Cowboys' first commitment in February, he was as good as any first commitment in recent memory. Ross is great with the ball in his hands and he can play in open spaces and go all day. That said, when he is fully developed he will be good sized and will be strong. His stats are awesome with 99 receptions as a junior for 1,335 yards and 15 touchdowns. Oklahoma State won over Baylor, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Missouri, and West Virginia.

Offensive Linemen
Caleb Benenoch, OG
6-6, 317, NA
Katy (Seven Lakes), Texas
(Soft verbal commit to Michigan State)
Benenoch is a huge player that most of the time just engulfs his target. The good thing is he has such quick feet for his size that opposing linemen have a hard time even running away from his approach. He can drive an opponent 10 to 15 yards downfield. Yet on pass rush blocking he is nimble enough to stay with them and maintain contact. He plays tackle in high school, but is likely going to move inside in college. He did commit to Michigan State but maintains contact with schools with a guess he is thinking that a school closer could be in his future.

Matt Beyer, OL
6-6, 275, 5.4
San Antonio (Reagan), Texas
(AzSt, Bay, UH, KU, Miami, Fla., Minn, OSU, Tulsa)
Beyer may not have a great 40 time, and most offensive linemen don't, but I bet the 20-yard time is good, and he shows you all the good traits you want to see in an offensive linemen. He can block straight up, blocks great on angles and is able to keep locked up with targets. He has a deceptive cut block going down to the lower body at the last instant. When he is pass blocking he never quits moving his feet. He also never quits on a play and is often seen blocking first level and then going downfield for a linebacker or defensive back. An Oklahoma State offer could be coming soon as Wickline usually comes out with offers toward the end of the May evaluation after he has seen prospects in person.

Zach Crabtree, OL
6-7, 260, 5.1
Mansfield, Texas
(Bay, OSU, Tulsa, UtSt)
Crabtree is athletic and has good feet for his size. He does a really good job of pass protection and keeps moving his feet. It looks a little like he's dancing as he kind of "tangos" the defensive end beyond the quarterback. I like his intuitive nature of knowing when the play is by him in the run game and having a sense of when to take off and aim at the next level of defender.

Kenneth Lacy, OL
6-5, 270, NA
Phoenix (Mountain Pointe), Ariz.
(Ark, Neb, OSU, OU, KSU, S.Car, Vandy, UW)
Lacy is a very athletic lineman who shows equal ability to run block and pass protect. His best attribute is his feet as he moves really well and keeps them moving both in drive blocking and in pass pro. He has already set four official visits and those are to Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and OU, and he says he is looking at his other four schools to decide where the fifth visit will be.

Maurice Porter, OL
6-5, 295, NA
Fort Bend (Marshall), Texas
(Bay, CU, UH, Ind, KSU, OSU, A&M, Tech, UWV) Porter has excellent feet and is athletic for a big guy. Normally his first blow staggers an opposing defensive lineman. He gets a lot of pancakes as a result of that first contact. He is also seen often driving players on runs 10 yards or more downfield. He could play guard or tackle in college.

Kenneth Thompson, OL
6-4, 285, 5.1
Houston (Langham Creek), Texas
(OSU, Rice, Ark, KU, TCU)
Smart player with excellent fundamentals, Thompson does a good job of locking up with an opposing lineman and holding on. He has a good punch with his pass protection and also shows good feet and is able to get downfield after taking care of his assignment, run or pass play.

Defensive Tackles
Ben Hughes
6-3, 310, NA
Waco (University), Texas
(KU, KSU, OSU, Tulsa)
He is excellent in the nose at taking on the double team and splitting it to become effective and make his teammates in the front seven more effective. He does it time and time again. Now he plays too high, but what defensive linemen at any level doesn't. He is a bear hug-type tackler and once he has his hands around a player they typically aren't going anywhere. He is athletic enough to be a factor in the pass rush and even in rushing punts at the high school level.

Alex Villareal
6-4, 295, 5.1
NEO A&M J.C., Okla./Hidalgo, Texas
He has filled out nicely at NEO as he now stands 6-4 and weighs in at 295 pounds. He is very athletic and his quickness allows him to play the three technique, but he is likely to be big enough and, more importantly, strong enough to play at the nose. He is smart too as he is holding down a 3.5 in the classroom.

Defensive Ends
Joe Mathis
6-4, 250, 4.69
Upland, Calif.
(Ala, Az, AzSt, Aub, CU, Mich, Neb, ND, OSU, OU, Tenn, UCLA, USC, UW)
We could not find a team on tape that runs at him. Literally, not a single running play at him or to the gap on either side. He makes plays on the other side of the field and usually within five yards of the line of scrimmage. He is sometimes moved inside to tackle so that he can more drastically impact the game.

Naim Mustafaa
6-4, 235, 4.7
Alpharetta, Ga.
(Ala, Aub, UF, FSU, UGA, GT, UK, Md, MTSU, Miss, MsSt, MU, Neb, UNC, OSU, Tenn, UVA, VT)
He uses quickness to avoid blocks and does an excellent job of setting the defensive edge. Because of that speed he is also very good at pursuit and teams do not get as much of a reward because of that for running away from him. Never gives up when getting blocked and as a result never stays blocked for long.

Torrodney Prevot
6-4, 220, 4.6
Houston (Alief Taylor), Texas
(Az, AzSt, Bay, CU, UH, KU, KSU, LSU, Miss, ND, OSU, OU, SMU, UT, A&M, Tech, Utah, Vandy, WV)
He is one of the best defensive prospects in Texas and the interest in him has increased a bunch since the start of junior recruiting. He has so much speed and even when he gets blocked he gets back in the play so quick it is almost as if he was never blocked. He plays like the "Energizer bunny." He also is terrific at blocking kicks.

Third Installment: Defensive Back Seven, Sunday, May 20

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