How'd The Freshman Perform In 2014?

The word "stars" was mentioned Monday during my radio show in reference to the Oklahoma State Cowboys recruiting class. I told the caller that I pay little attention to the stars. I generally know what has given in the way of stars to the prospects that OSU has committed or is recruiting, but I couldn't begin to tell you how they are all ranked by other recruiting websites.

I'd likely miss some on the Scout stars as well because I don't pay attention to them. I would only know most of the Scout ratings because of seeing them so much. I've learned over the years several things about this business. You see the people awarding the stars would be in a job that paid much more if they were really that talented as evaluators.

Coaches, scouts, personnel directors, etc., make more than most of the Scout evaluators. I also have learned to simply trust my own evaluations made off video tape through my Hudl account, live evaluations, and the accounts of people in this business that I know and trust.

The best proof of what I'm talking about is to go back and look at what Scout thought, what I thought, and how players from past recruiting classes have done. We've done this before and every time it has proven to me just what I wrote above. It is most accurate when players conclude their college careers, but as you are about to see there are some truths and some poor "star" evaluations that come to light after just one season at the Division I level.

Before we get into our player-by-player evaluation from the 2014 OSU Cowboys recruiting class there are several players that either never made it to campus, at least not for long, or that departed at some point during the season.

The most notable of those is running back/slot receiver/return specialist Tyreek Hill out of Garden City (Kan.) C.C. The hero of Bedlam with the 92-yard punt return that tied the game and sent it to overtime where the Cowboys won was a 5-star recruit according to Scout. I felt the same way that he was an immediate impact player and voted him Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in the preseason. It is safe to say that evaluation was spot on.

Running back Devon Thomas of Broken Arrow, Okla., was in Stillwater for the spring but was dismissed after being arrested for a variety of charges including one involving a gun. The 4-star prospect will never play a down for the Cowboys.

Here is an evaluation of the other players from the recruiting class:

9 Gyasi Akem
LB, 6-1, 215
Broken Arrow, Okla.
Akem was a 4-star signee, according to Scout, and he may very well live up to that. He did earn playing time as a true freshman and finished with nine tackles, all unassisted. It is hard to say he lived up to 4 stars his freshman season but he is on his way. He will battle for more playing time in the spring.

40 Devante Averette
LB, 6-0, 240
Melvindale, Mich./Ellsworth C.C., Iowa
Averette came off a torn ACL from spring practice and was practicing full speed in September and showing up well in practice. Just a 3-star to Scout after earning first-team All-American honors in junior college, Averette played in three games with three tackles before another injury put him on medical redshirt. My evaluation is much higher than that of Scout, and based on what I've seen in practice my evaluation has not changed. I'm convinced he will be a starter and a standout player.

94 Jordan Brailford
DE, 6-3, 235
Tulsa (Booker T. Washington), Okla.
He played on the scout team all season and was one of the scout teamers drawing rave reviews from the offensive staff. He is a 4-star recruit, according to, and has the ability to live up to it.

6 Keenen Brown
WR, 6-3, 205
Alief (Taylor), Texas
He has been one of the stars of the bowl workouts as this 4-star prospect redshirted all season and played on the scout team for the defense. He made some spectacular plays and is a threat to earn major playing time this spring. A bigger, more physical receiver he likely could have helped some this past season as some receivers didn't perform as hoped.

99 Trey Carter
DE, 6-4, 270
Dallas (Pinkston), Texas
Carter has beefed up and may be on his way to playing tackle, either way the 4-star prospect that signed with the Cowboys redshirted this fall and delivered monster efforts on the scout team. He is another reason that the defensive line play should not drop off with the loss of the two senior defensive tackles.

85 Jordan Frazier
TE, 6-5, 255
Springfield (Lighthouse Christian), Mo.
I couldn't wait to get to Frazier as only gave him 2 stars coming out of high school. Maybe it was because he was on a homeschool team, albeit one that won the homeschool national championship, but Frazier has delivered huge on getting bigger and stronger and playing well on the scout team. Head coach Mike Gundy is really excited about this young man and he will be a major weapon to criticizing the star evaluators. I predict a big (huge) miss here.

66 Junior Galea'i
OG, 6-5, 330
Euless (Trinity), Texas
Galea'i redshirted and did a good job on the scout team throughout the fall. He is a player that will get a good look in the spring. He was a 3-star coming out of high school and as often with offensive linemen it is too early to tell one way or the other.

3 Chris Hardeman
CB, 5-9, 178
Alief (Taylor), Texas
Hardeman became a solid contributor to special teams and finished with six tackles. He was a 4-star recruit, according to, and while it is too early to go one way or the other in deciding on that evaluation, he did play as a true freshman and he has a degree of toughness about him.

4 Dylan Harding
S, 6-2, 190
Jenks, Okla.
His freshman season might be best summed up by what he didn't do rather than what he did. On the key punt return in the closing minute of regulation in Bedlam he pulled off a block and more or less set a screen instead and he kept from drawing a penalty for blocking in the back. It was a smart play. Harding played in 11 games and finished with two tackles. He was a 3-star signee but I predict he will wind up better than that.

15 Chris Lacy
WR, 6-3, 195
DeSoto, Texas
Lacy earned playing time in August. The 3-star prospect played in 11 games and had four receptions for 47 yards. He is going to be a really good player and should outshine his ranking. He has a great football IQ that helps as well.

50 Josh Mabin
LB, 6-2, 235
Houston (Klein Oak), Texas
In August camp he was more than living up to his billing as the 3-star prospect looked more like a 5-star in practices and scrimmages. He was set to play and play a lot when he suffered an ankle injury that knocked him out for the season. Even now it is fun to watch him at bowl practice go through conditioning knowing what he is capable of when the pads go back on.

78 Matthew Mucha
OT, 6-6, 285
Seabrook (Clear Lake), Texas
I'll be honest, I was skeptical on Mucha from high school but he has been outstanding as he was plucked off the scout team in October around the time that fellow freshman Brad Lundblade was moving into playing time at center. Mucha moved up but never had his redshirt pulled. A 3-star prospect, Mucha will far exceed that evaluation. He has a great frame and is getting bigger and stronger by the second.

68 Dionte Noel
OL, 6-3, 310
Nacogdoches, Texas
Noel arrived as a 3-star prospect and was going to originally blue-shirt but then moved in and took a redshirt. He did well on the scout team and is going to take time developing.

86 Jarrell Owens
DE, 6-3, 250
Palestine, Texas
Another of the standouts on the scout team that the offensive coaching staff brags about. Owens is so athletic and he is now getting bigger and stronger. He is likely to be a monster-type pass rusher. His speed is really good for a player so big. He was supposed to be this good with a 4-star rating and the person that pinned those stars on Owens knows what he is doing.

33 Sione Palelei
RB, 5-10, 205
Gonzales (East Ascension), La.
In August there was no shortage of running backs but Palelei had played so well that he was going to make the travel squad and play. The 3-star prospect, likely because of an ACL injury that cut short his senior season, made a major impression on everybody including the head coach. Then two injuries forced him on the shelf and a redshirt season. Everybody has fingers crossed that he returns to the same form.

19 Justin Phillips
LB, 6-0, 220
Pearland, Texas
Here's one that definitely got wrong as Phillips only rated 3 stars and he is better than that. He played as a true freshman in seven games and finished with 18 tackles, including 12 unassisted. He is good on special teams as well showing speed and really strong football instincts.

18 Ramon Richards
CB, 6-0, 185
San Antonio (Brackenridge), Texas
How could anybody know? I'll forgive for this one as Richards, a quarterback primarily in high school, took over at corner in the conference opener when Ashton Lampkin suffered a bad ankle sprain. Richards got beat some but he showed great athletic ability and attitude and wound up leading the team in interceptions with three and registering 36 tackles as he played the rest of the season. How valuable are corners? You know and Richards is set now to be a 3- or 4-year starter.

11 Tre Roberts
S, 6-2, 202
Aldine (Eisenhower), Texas
Roberts ended up redshirting and the 3-star prospect played scout team. Honestly, I probably have seen less of Roberts as any player in the class and that is my fault.

10 Mason Rudolph
QB, 6-4, 225
Rock Hill (Northwestern), S.C.
Shame on and anybody else for only giving this young man 3 stars coming out of high school as the state championship, the stats, the MVP in the Carolina Shrine Bowl, and his entire resume screamed 4 or 5 stars. He did not play until the redshirt came off in game 11 at Baylor but the play in that game and the upset win at Oklahoma showed what a talent he is. He is one of the top freshmen quarterback in America. We can keep going but it just gets worse for the evaluator that only gave him 3 stars. Embarrassing.

29 Zach Sinor
P, 5-11, 190
Castroville (Medina Valley), Texas
A 3-star prospect, high for a punter, Sinor redshirted this season.

12 Kirk Tucker
Star, 6-2, 195
Tucker, Ga.
A 3-star signee, Tucker played this season in all 12 games with 13 tackles and a tackle for loss. I thought he played well and has a bright future. He is likely to outplay that ranking.

82 Cole Walterscheid
DE, 6-6, 235
Muenster, Texas
He came in a 3-star prospect and weighing 210 pounds. He now weighs 235 and is closing on 240. He has a chance to be a really good player but his key right now is the weight room.

28 James Washington
WR, 6-0, 195
Stamford, Texas
This is the biggest blunder of all for the star rankers as they only gave the two-time Class A state champion three stars and he is a 5-star player by performance. He was one of the top freshman receivers in the nation with 26 receptions for 423 yards and five touchdowns. Washington is a bonafide future star. Maybe the fact that he was from a Class A school is an excuse but the performance in high school should have been paid more attention to.



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