Texas Football Likes Cowboys Recruiting

We mentioned that Texas Football Magazine really liked the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they picked Mike Gundy's squad third in its Big 12 selections and said Gundy's work in coaching and recruiting is the main reason for the confidence. A highlight of each issue of Texas Football is the recruiting coverage including their Super Team.

The top two running backs are both slated to head north across the Red River as Ronald Jones (6-0, 185, 4.4) out of McKinney North is committed to Oklahoma State. The magazine described his 235 yards a game and his 2,409 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns and then said, "Plays bigger than listed because of his tough running style and a very good stiff arm."

The other first team running back is Rodney Anderson out of Katy, Texas and he's committed to Oklahoma.

Other first-teamers on the Super Team Offense that the Cowboys are involved in or have committed include first team wide receiver Ryan Newsome (5-9, 165, 4.5) of Aledo and first team offensive lineman Conner Dyer (6-5, 280, 5.2) out of Mesquite Horn.

On the Super Team Defense second team, defensive back Jaylon Lane (6-2, 180, 4.5) out of Nacogdoches is committed to the Cowboys and they have offered another East Texan on the second team in Kris Boyd (6-1, 185, 4.4) out of Gilmer.

Third team Super Team defensive tackle Taaj Bakari (6-2, 295, 5.1) out of Mansfield Legacy is also an Oklahoma State commit.

Midland Christian offensive lineman and three-time TAPPS All-Stater Johnny Wilson made the Texas Football Top 300 and the Top 30 Offensive Linemen lists.

Za'Carrius Green (6-1, 200, 4.5) out of Duncanville also made the Texas Football Top 300 and the Top 25 Linebackers lists. Kenneth McGruder (6-1, 200, 4.6) from Alief Taylor was listed in "Best of the Rest" under defensive backs.

Moneyball Recruiting
There was a story on espn.go.com earlier this week written by former Rival and now ESPN recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree. Over the years I have had some fundamental disagreements with Crabtree over his theories and his style of covering recruiting.

I'll be honest and say my major disagreement was he worked for Rivals. He has since been hired by ESPN and it's different as a lot of the Rivals originals have gone somewhere else. Heck, down in Austin, Chip Brown is now with us on Scout's Horns Digest.

Back to the interesting story that Crabtree wrote comparing the recruiting at Iowa of Kirk Ferenz and his coaching staff to the personnel acquisition of the Oakland Athletics of the MLB and the Moneyball concepts.

None of the characters here -- Crabtree, Ferenz, or even Billy Beane, who was played by Brad Pitt -- will ever be confused with the Hollywood star and I'm not sure how close Iowa recruiting comes to Moneyball, which was all based on the theory of putting value (with certain skills) to players and trying to put together a roster with a lineup that could achieve certain statistical goals needed to win.

I don't know that Iowa is getting that technical with it but they are doing a better job of paying attention and giving recruiting value to regional talents that are being looked over. Ohio State, with Urban Meyer as head coach and all of his recruiting ties to Florida and nationally, now routinely moves past some of the better players in Ohio, same at Michigan with the Wolverines and Michigan State.

Chicago is a strong area of recruiting talent. The belief may be that players in the Southeast (Florida especially) and the southwest and west (Texas and California especially) are faster and have seen more football because of positive climate conditions and high school emphasis on football.

Iowa leaves no stone unturned in-state and in their region with the hope they can take these talented players being forgotten and develop them to be as good or better than the imports their rivals are going after. It makes for an interesting story, but the five-year trend doesn't match the success of the Oakland A's.

Counting back here are the records of five Big Ten schools, including Iowa:
(Records go from 2013 to 2009)
Iowa 8-5, 4-8, 7-5, 8-5, 11-2 5-year avg. 7.6-5
Ohio State 12-2, 12-0, 6-7, 12-1, 11-2 5-year avg. 10.6-2.4
Michigan 7-6, 8-5, 11-2, 7-6, 5-7 5-year avg. 7.6-5.2
Michigan State 13-1, 7-6. 11-3, 11-2, 6-7 5-year avg. 9.6-3.8
Wisconsin 9-4, 8-6, 11-3, 11-2, 10-3 5-year avg. 9.8-3.6

Now you could say Oklahoma State actually comes closer to the Moneyball principles than Iowa. From a geographical standpoint, head coach Mike Gundy believes in recruiting Oklahoma but he also treats the mammoth recruiting talent available in Texas as a home state situation as well.

Gundy's staff all have areas assigned in Texas. The staff also participates as guest coaches in the early summer at Mary Hardin-Baylor's Elite Camp Series and the Oklahoma State staff uses coaching clinics to get in front of Texas high school coaches every opportunity they can. From a geographic standpoint the philosophy is similar.

Iowa may have this as part of its recruiting doctrine as well, but Gundy insists that every available piece of video whether sent as a DVD in the mail or as an attachment on an email be watched. The process includes a coach or graduate assistant or QC coach logging on and logging comments on the video watched. No video goes unwatched is a steadfast rule and policy in the Oklahoma State football offices.

Meetings to review recruits in the staff room with details posted on a board that most of the time is covered up can last hours. For your Moneyball purposes they do assign numbers in the form of rudimentary values to each prospect.

Another important piece to the Gundy recruiting procedure has to do with in-state recruits. For many years Oklahoma has been a state where many top high school prospects have wanted to play at OU. That still is the case with some players. Gundy insists that once his staff realizes this, they cut ties and move on. Trying to beat Oklahoma in some cases in recruiting over the years has cost Oklahoma State valuable time.

You remember the check mark you got in school for uses time wisely. That is Gundy's theory, don't bang your head on an Oklahoma kid that is predestined to pick OU (daddy, mommy, grandpa, etc.) when you can move on to the vast state of Texas or cherry pick in a nearby state a player as good and in many cases better than the one you were recruiting. It is another policy that has led to this 5-year record.

Oklahoma State: 10-3, 8-5, 12-1, 11-2, 9-4 (5-year avg. 10-3)

Now that's Money!

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