Signing Day Drama?

Everybody is always asking if there are going to be any surprises on National Signing Day? You have to remember that a surprise cuts both ways. They can be good and they can be bad. Oklahoma State had neither Wednesday on 2014 National Signing Day.

The one good surprise would have been All-American linebacker Kenny Young out of River Ridge John Curtis High School in Louisiana deciding to sign with the Cowboys.

He had visited Oklahoma State the second to last weekend before signing day. But then last weekend he visited UCLA and his good relationship with Jim Mora Jr., trumped his good relationship with Mike Gundy and Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, and he signed with the Bruins.

While there were no surprises Wednesday, there was some drama. Three players for various reasons had situations that qualified as signing day drama. Those players were recent commitment switch Jarrell Owens from Palestine, Texas, running back Sione Pelelei out of Gonzales (East Ascension), La., and Tulsa Washington defensive end Jordan Brailford.

There were thoughts early on Wednesday morning that the Cowboys might lose Owens, aka as the "Hog Hunter," who had committed to OSU last weekend. The thoughts were TCU might be the only school he could sign with according to his mother.

An explosive 6-3, 240-pound athlete, Owens had been committed to TCU since June, but on his official visit to Stillwater discovered a town and a campus that reminded him a lot more of his East Texas country roots. The mostly fullback and Scout 4-star recruit that is set to be a defensive end found on Wednesday morning that his mom wasn't crazy about the extra distance from Fort Worth to Stillwater.

"I kind of got with OSU late in the recruiting process and she wanted me to go to TCU because it was closer to home," Owens said. "I had to tell her that everything was going to work out because it would be better for me (to go to OSU). I'm glad that she was finally good with what I wanted to do."

Owens admitted that for awhile TCU was all that his mom wanted to hear but then he took the time to really explain what he was thinking and what changed his mind.

"Yes sir, I'm from the piney woods part of Texas and this is country and I discovered the people there in Stillwater and at Oklahoma State are more like that," Owens said. "I just explained to her the good and bad about my decision, and everything has settled down now."

As far as the "Hog Hunter" nickname, Owens likes it. He just loves hunting wild boar or those big feral hogs. He's captured a 404-pounder, the biggest he's brought down. He sound like it's a hobby he plans on continuing.

"I love it. I love everything about it. I've been hunting for two years of my life and it's like every time I go hunting I get the same excitement that I got the first time," he said with the enthusiasm that most defensive ends would use in talking about quarterback sacks. "I think I could hunt the rest of my life."

The drama in Louisiana with running back Sione Palelei was simple. There was a signature missing from his letter-of-intent and one that is required for a signee of Palelei's age. His dad had forgotten to sign the letter, so the NLI could not be faxed and be counted until he made it to school to sign the document. Hearing that the delay caused some anxious moments was humorous for Palelei.

"Heh, heh," Palelei laughed when that was mentioned and than talked about his feeling at his signing day ceremony. "It was calm at first and then walking to the field house for the ceremony and seeing all the guys I've been with in my time growing up made me a little nervous. Then the ceremony was an amazing feeling."

Palelei is a running back with power, and also with some of that Kendall Hunter make you miss ability that really fits in any offense. Palelei had 58 carries for 752 rushing yards (13 yards per carry average) with 10 touchdowns this past season before he was injured with a torn ACL in the fifth game.

He was also committed at the time to LSU and would later switch. The good news is he moving right along after surgery in the fall with his rehab.

"It's good right now. I'm jogging and two weeks ahead on my recovery," said the 5-10, 197-pound running back. "They are expecting my date to be full released in April, so if everything goes well then I'll be ready to go."

Palelei is one of seven members of the class that de-committed from another school to pick Oklahoma State. Palelei changed his mind after making his official visit for the Bedlam game in December.

"It was just the progress of the program and the way they work with the athletes on success in the classroom and their training off and on through the season," Palelei explained of his switch. "That and the offense really stood out to me, especially for my style. That really caught my eye."

The third drama tale of the morning came with defensive end Jordan Brailford of Tulsa Washington, and simply because someone got on the GoPokes.com website message board and posted that Brailford had or was signing with rival Oklahoma. That has happened in the past with some signing day surprises and the Oklahoma State fan base was in no mood to have it happen on this day.

It didn't and it never was in question.

"It was just a good fit for me," Brailford said after signing his NLI and faxing it to the Cowboys football office. "They showed me a lot of love, and I really liked my visit up there. I just felt like the are coming up and I feel like I'm going to have some great years to experience while I'm there."

Some drama, yes. Any surprises, thankfully no.


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