With just three days until National Signing Day none of the recruiting websites have Oklahoma State Cowboys with any four-star or better prospects on their commitment list. I have had the rules of stars explained to me before by friends like Greg Powers at Scout and others. The rules are in place to make it fair and unbiased.
You know the feeling that you get when you see a three-star recruit commit to Louisville and then a week later that player is swept up by Alabama and a few days later he has four stars. I'll agree there is no bias in the rules of stars, but the evaluating is where bias seems to appear.
In my opinion it doesn't matter. The star system is okay. It is something for fans to follow and a lot of those highly regarded prospects end up being well decorated players. Of course, a lot of less than shiny prospects also end up becoming playmakers and program changers too.
This series is not bash the star givers or gazers but is instead to allow me to give my opinion just before signing day.
Oklahoma State has 19 commitments as of the weekend before National Signing Day and none of those are rated as high as four stars by any recruiting service. However, in my biased system of watching tape, judging athletic ability based on performance and competition, and throwing the potential around in my likely football shaped brain I come up with my own star ratings and I have four future Cowboys that I rank as four stars.
We'll let this creep out in four parts. Saturday we focused on two offensive players and today we have two defensive players, and then Monday we'll come out with our single most, in our opinion, deserving of four stars commitment on the Cowboys list. So what on Tuesday? Ahhhh, the additions because there could be some. Those would be bonafide, real, authentic four stars.
Defense wins championships....
I remember the day back in August during fall camp that Shepherd, Texas defensive end Jonathan Marshall changed his commitment from TCU to Oklahoma State. The Oklahoma State coaches couldn't talk about the recruiting development but they sure had big smiles on their faces at practice that day. Marshall was a third-team All-Super Team defensive lineman in Texas Football Magazine who got your attention watching him on his video. He is big, but moves really well (4.8) like a big cat.
He is fast enough to come off the edge and be a dynamite pass rusher and at the same time he now weighs, according to him, close to 275 pounds and he is a strong force and very capable in the run game.
The best way for me to describe the two-time All-State honoree and the Defensive MVP in his district for this past season is that he is an SEC-type defensive end. The defensive ends in the SEC look like defensive tackles do in many other conferences.
Marshall is also from Shepherd, Texas, which doesn't get a ton of media coverage and if it did it might not matter much as Marshall is not a talker and he lets his play speak for him. His recruiting was very unusual as he committed early to TCU and only a couple of schools like Oklahoma State and LSU kept following him. Then he switched to Oklahoma State and again, schools seemed to honor that commitment until Arkansas maneuvered for the steal this final weekend of recruiting.
I don't know but in my much more loose way of awarding stars, any player still being fought for on the final weekend with the kind of physique and ability of a Jonathan Marshall belongs in the four-star category.
Tune in on the internet on ESPN3 this afternoon and look for number 27 on the Under 19 Canadian Team in the International Bowl in AT&T Cowboys Stadium and let me know what you think. This is what I call "immediate and group star judging" as I'm going to tell you that based on the tape that I've watched I think the Cowboys committed linebacker from Calgary and the cousin of All-American defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is a four-star.
Granted, I don't know how good any of these teams that Amen Ogbongbemiga is playing against either in the fall in his high school or in the spring on his Hilltoppers club team are. They look like football players and they are playing on a 110-yard field and the two teams are playing with 12 men and they are using three downs to try to move the chains.
I know that most American players that go to the CFL end up showing up bigger because of the Canadian rules. The speed is huge and Ogbongbemiga is fast and he is physical. Seeing him in person a couple of weeks ago only confirmed my thoughts that despite playing in Canada and being recruited by the likes of Nevada (only other offer), Rice, Ohio, and Western Kentucky, I believe that Amen my be the best football player in this recruiting class. I have another that I would stack right up there with him and you will read about him in part 3.
Today, I get an instant grade. If Ogbongbemiga doesn't play well in Jerry's World against Team USA this afternoon then most folks will say Robert's just applying some orange glitter to the 2016 recruiting class. If he plays well then maybe lend me a hand in finding an extra star or two for the Canadian in the class.