"The Dream Class" used to be a favorite of a number of Go Pokes subscribers that crave recruiting. I kind of let it drop because it was frustrating for me to throw names out there and then be wrong. Sometimes my picks would commit to other schools, sometimes Oklahoma State would not end up offering, and various other circumstances.
A couple of years I even kept score and one year after scoring pretty well I went on a huge goose egg streak. However, I am feeling just a little cocky, armed with what I witnessed at last Sunday's Nike The Opening Regional at Coppell High School with my educated and gut feelings on what the Cowboys need in the 2017 recruiting class and where they would go to get those prospects.
Here are some rules that I an instituting for myself for this exercise.
1. Must include all previous commitments in the dream class (easy to do because I like them all and would have them in anyway).
2. Can only include prospects that have been offered a scholarship at the present time, no deep speculations although you know there will be some late gathering as there is in every recruiting class.
3. Have to have seen each prospect that you pick in person, at a camp or combine, in a practice or a game, or on video.
4. Have to try to keep to the projected numbers (overall and by position) that you think Oklahoma State is dealing with.
Okay, here goes with my 2017 Oklahoma State Dream Recruiting Class 1.0:
QB: Cam Roane, 6-2, 196, Colleyville (Heritage), Texas
Did you see our interview with Roane from The Opening Regional? He showed high interest in Oklahoma State and his recruiting will continue to blow up because all day long you could see his abilities and leadership out on the field. He was likely victimized in the final invitations to The Opening and the MVP award with his last few snaps that wound up being incompletions. No big thing because over the long haul of the day he threw the ball well, showed athleticism and lots of leadership. It is hard at events like that to get coordination on offense and Roane communicated and commanded respect with the other offensive players. His production in high school has been excellent with 117-of-209 passing last season for 2,052 yards and 19 touchdowns to 9 interceptions with another 404 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. His career numbers show 5,949 passing yards with 61 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions. I like him a lot.
RB: Eno Benjamin, 5-10, 187, Wylie (Wylie East), Texas
Benjamin is another player we greatly enjoyed talking to Sunday at Coppell High School. He talked up Oklahoma State and said that his loyalty to the Cowboys early offer would keep them and running backs coach Marcus Arroyo in his top 10. He released that on Tuesday, and yes Oklahoma State is there along with Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, SMU, Northwestern, Arizona, Houston, Baylor, and Vanderbilt. Benjamin is a good student and cares about education. On the field he carried 366 times last season for 2,652 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 232 yards and 2 touchdowns. Good person and good player.
RB: Chuba Hubbard, 6-0, 180, Edmonton (Bev Fancey School), Alberta, Canada
I know that Kennedy Brooks of Mansfield, who was at The Opening Regional, is interested in Oklahoma State. Sure, you take a player like that, but I'm fascinated with the Canadian speedster in Hubbard. He ran unbelievable numbers in just nine games last season. It takes a special player at running back using Canadian rules (three downs to get a first down) to get a team to base their offense on the run. Oklahoma State was the second school to offer Hubbard, behind Colorado State, and the Cowboys have two Canadians in their 2016 recruiting class.
WR: Tyrell Shavers, 6-5, 205, Lewisville, Texas
Why not shoot for the moon as this young man shocked everyone Sunday with a 4.38 electronically timed 40-yard dash. That is a big man moving really fast. He was injured some last season, but Oklahoma State and wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn knew about Shavers and offered him early. That could help because the rest of Division I is offering him as fast as they can now. Last season, he had 36 catches for 667 yards and 10 touchdowns.
WR: Laviska Shenault Jr., 6-1, 203, DeSoto, Texas
Another receiver that I saw at The Opening Regional and he showed up really well. He runs good routes and has really good hands. He runs in the 4.5 range and is well spoken and seemingly a good person. You know Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy has put an emphasis on character, so we are using it as a factor too. Last season he had 28 receptions for 494 yards and three touchdowns, but he was emerging. Look for this fall to be a huge season.
WR: Omar Manning, 6-2, 208, Lancaster, Texas
Another big receiver from The Opening that showed up well throughout the event. He is from Lancaster, another school with good ties in recruiting for the Cowboys. Last season he had 33 receptions for 671 yards and 12 touchdowns. Now, he hasn't been offered but I want to mention a local Oklahoma kid in Rubell Goe of Oklahoma City Bishop McGuinness. All he did was catch 60 passes for 1,390 yards and 19 touchdowns. He is 6-2, 190 pounds and with an offer could slide into my "Dream Class."
TE/CB: Reese Leitao, 6-3, 220, Jenks, Oklahoma
The Cowboys need to put the full court press on the Jenks standout because Leitao likes Oklahoma State and his recruiting really is starting to blow up. Another good player when it comes to academics. He is hearing from all the good smart schools like Northwestern, Duke, and Stanford.
OL: Adrian Wolford, 6-4, 300, Meeker, Oklahoma
He is committed to Oklahoma State, and after seeing him at a spring practice watching during the first week of workouts anyone would approve. He is a really solid lineman that looks like he will fit in well. He is also the first player to get a Division I football scholarship out of Meeker.
OL: Hyrin White, 6-7, 292, DeSoto, Texas
Thanks to Greg Powers or I might have missed talking to this outstanding linemen. But Greg told me that in an earlier interview before The Opening Regional on Sunday that White told him that Oklahoma State was his favorite offer. I spoke to him and he confirmed that, and said he had made a good connection to the school and the staff including offensive line coach Greg Adkins. They don't make offensive linemen in high school that look better than this young man. He is athletic too.
OL: Tyrese Robinson, 6-4, 296, McKinney (Boyd), Texas
Robinson had an excellent camp and he is listing Oklahoma State and the Cowboys have offered. It will be a dogfight to get Robinson as his recruiting is and will continue to blow up.
DT: Damion Daniels, 6-2, 320, Dallas (Bishop Dunne), Texas
Daniels was scheduled to attend Sunday but I never saw him and he would have made the finals, no question in my mind. The younger brother of Cowboy sophomore Darrion Daniels, you have to hope it is important for the two brothers to play next to each other because they would make quite a pair at defensive tackle. Daniels is being recruited by a lot of schools. He had five schools offer him in one day about two weeks ago.
DT: Brandon Evers, 6-2, 287, Bixby, Oklahoma
Evers has been to Oklahoma State this spring for a practice with his parents. He has some other schools he plans on visiting this spring, but I think he could be one of the up and coming next commitments. He is a talented player that plays with a mean streak on the field. He uses his hands well and also plays with good leverage.
DE: Isaiah Thomas, 6-5, 230, Tulsa (Memorial), Oklahoma
All things considered, I favor an Oklahoma kid and Thomas is ultra-gifted as he shows on tape. He is another player sort of like Leitao and Evers that Oklahoma State should really strive to get them committed earlier because there will be a lot of schools involved as the process goes on.
LB: Brendan Vaughn, 6-1, 213, Forney, Texas
Here is where you congratulate Gundy and his staff on their evaluation skills and finding players early because Vaughn turned heads at The Opening Regional. He looks good on tape from last season but in person he looks ready to be a "star" linebacker in the Oklahoma State defense. He is quick and can cover but on his tape he shows the ability to play downhill and to do it in a very physical manner. He is also a character young man as I want more like him on my team.
LB: Baron Browning, 6-2, 206, Kennedale, Texas
Shoot for the moon as Browning was considered one of the best players at Coppell High School for the Nike event on Sunday. He was certainly one of the best looking athletes. He received an invite to The Opening in July and was also one of the top leaders on the defensive side of the ball. He has a ton of offers. Last season, he not only made a lot of tackles but also scored two defensive touchdowns, one on a scoop and score and the other on a pick six.
Safety: Ty Thomas, 5-11, 195, Lubbock (Cooper), Texas
I can go on all day on Thomas as I met him for the first time and he did not disappoint. He is "old school" just like his dad and his Hall of Fame (college and pro) uncle. He wants to hit people. He said his push now is to improve his coverage skills, but he was good enough on Sunday against some outstanding receivers to make it to the showcase portion at the end of the event. He is dogged in his coverage and shows good fundamentals. He is another attitude and character young man. I also like the fact that he catches flack in Lubbock but said he wanted to go his own way and he likes Oklahoma State.
Safety: Keldrick Carper, 6-2, 185, Plain Dealings, La.
There weren't many Louisiana players there Sunday but Carper was and he showed up well. He tested well and then covered well. Oklahoma State seems to always get at least one or two Louisiana players in its recruiting class each year, and Carper would be my pick.
CB: Jeffrey Okudah, 6-1, 195, Grand Prairie (South Grand Prairie), Texas
You look at Okudah and the first impression is that he is a coach at an event like The Opening Regional and that he currently plays in the NFL. He looks that good. As a wide receiver last season he caught 19 passes for 460 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is much better at stopping passes. He showed that skill all day Sunday and earned an invite to The Opening. He is being recruited by over 30 schools.
CB: Tyon Merchant, 6-1, 180, College Station (A&M Consolidated), Texas
Another big corner that shows up well on video. He will likely be at the Nike Opening Regional in Houston.
Kicker: I can't violate my own rules and I don't know of a kicker that has been offered as of yet.