Gundy On The Class Of 2006

Mike Gundy knows to get the Oklahoma State football program to where he expects it that one recruiting class isn't going to get it done. But the second-year Cowboy head coach got a start in the right direction when he signed 29 players for one of the nation's top 20 classes – and possibly one of the best in school history – on National Signing Day. The OSU class is ranked 16th in the nation by Scout.com.

Gundy led the Cowboys to a 4-7 record in his first year as head coach in 2005, but knows where he wants the program to be in two or three years.

"The only way, and the way that we will build the football program here at Oklahoma State to where we're consistently at a level we want to be, is to put back-to-back-to-back classes together of quality young people who are interested in doing the things that we want our players to do. So we've got to put a lot of time and effort into recruiting, and it starts with me," Gundy said Wednesday afternoon.

"We're very excited about (this class). Our goal was to address things that we felt like would help us have more success next year, but ultimately we would expect these guys to start performing really well in about ‘08," Gundy continued. "In most case, when you bring freshmen in here, and there will be a few exceptions because there will be a few players who are physically and mentally far enough along to compete ... but most of these guys we would hope by ‘08 would be up and running. We feel very confident in this class that we have what we need to have a lot of success.

"A lot of credit has to go to our coaching staff and the effort they put in to putting this class together. I didn't know what I had in this staff of recruiters. I've not been around guys like this that can recruit. I've been around staffs where there were two or three guys who recruited extremely hard, but all the guys on this staff do a great job."

The breakdown of signees is as follows:
Quarterbacks........... 2
Running backs......... 1
Wide receivers......... 5
Tight ends ............. 0
Offensive linemen... 5
Defensive tackles.... 2
Defensive ends....... 2
Linebackers............ 6
Cornerbacks........... 2
Safeties.................. 1
Athletes................. 3
TOTAL.................. 29

Gundy said that a pair of junior college transfers – running back Dantrell Savage of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and wide receiver Anthony Parks of Butler County (Kan.) Community College – should provide immediate help when the 2006 season kicks off Sept. 2 against Missouri State.

"Some of the guys who should help us early, first off is Dantrell Savage. He has a lot of ability to make players miss in space," Gundy said. "Dantrell gives us something we haven't had here since Vernand (Morency) left. Michael Hamilton is going to be a better running back next year. He's going to have another year under his belt and he's adjusted to playing at this level, and he will give us more. But I know people were concerned about his ability to make people miss, and that's not Michael's strength. Dantrell has some of that. I'm looking forward to when he gets in here this summer and seeing how fast he is. I think he's a low-4.6 guy, or maybe high-4.5, but he has that ability to make you miss in space, and will be a good mix-up for us when you rotate him and you rotate (Julius) Crosslin in there. So I'm excited about him coming in."

Parks is one of six signees who have already graduated from either junior college or high school and are in Stillwater taking spring semester classes at OSU.

"Obviously, Anthony Parks the wide receiver from Butler County (Kan.) is here and he's mature enough to help us out some. He'll give us a guy at slot receiver that we haven't had, that can do some things underneath coverage – catch the ball and make them miss. He was a good punt returner in college, too, and should help us out there."

Another junior college transfer – cornerback Scott Broughton from Georgia Military College – should provide help in the secondary. Broughton earned junior college All-American honors last season after intercepting 10 passes, including four in a single game.

"Scott Broughton, the corner from Georgia Military, is one we're expecting to come in and help us right away. That's a position that we all know that we need some help in, we don't have much depth at all. We're excited about him. He's going to give us some help right away at that position," Gundy said.

Gundy is also excited about a pair of defensive linemen in Derek Burton (6-5, 252) of Muskogee (Okla.) High School and Ugo Chinasa (6-6, 222) from Richardson High School in Berkner, Texas.

"Derek Burton is a great take for us. He is a very squared-away young man. He does a good job in the classroom. He's tough. He loves to play football. He's got Oklahoma State in his bloodline, and he's proud to be here. I'm especially proud of his family and the commitment (his dad, a former Cowboy offensive linemen) made during recruiting, to stand up and say ‘You're going to go to Oklahoma State because that's where I went, they're building new facilities, the people there are going to take good care of you. Everything's in place and I want you to be a part of that.' We're extremely happy.

"Chinasa is 222 because he's playing basketball. Again, he's another good take for us because he's a 6-foot-5 or 6-6 guy who weighs 222. After he's been here with coach (Rob) Glass for a couple of years he should weigh 260 or 270. When he stops playing basketball and gets to our training table where we feed our players, and coach Glass can work with him and he gets all the carbs and proteins that he needs, he has a chance to be 260 and still run a 4.8 (in the 40), and really put pressure on people from the end. He should really be a threat for us coming off the edge in a couple of years."

Alex Cate is another freshman who Gundy is pleased to have in the class. He also is already attending classes at OSU after earning enough credits to graduate from Cottonwood High School in Salt Lake City. The 6-2, 198-pound quarterback threw for more than 6,600 yards and 74 touchdowns during his high school career, and signed with OSU after originally committing to LSU.

"I compare him a lot to Josh Fields," said Gundy. "He's a little more mobile than Josh, but doesn't have as strong of arm as Josh did at this part in his career. He's very savvy, very heady. His dad was the coach there. Football is important to him. He's been an accurate passer at the high school level, and obviously a good student, he graduated early (and is already at OSU). He's a very good baseball player. There was a time when we were concerned that he wasn't going to come to school early, and afraid we could lose him in the (baseball) draft. Fortunately, he's in school and we're excited about him."

Of the 28 players who signed, 13 are on the offensive side of the ball, including five wide receivers in Parks, Terrance Anderson of Aldine, Texas, DeMarcus Conner of Spring (Westfield), Texas, Al'Darius Thompson of Mesquite (North Mesquite), Texas, and Artrell Woods of Bryan, Texas.

"With what we do offensively (with the spread offense) we'd like to have some more depth there," Gundy said. "Our system this year had some spots where we were limited at because we had to make some decisions as a staff – do we want to try to implement a system that's going to help us in the future here or are we going to try to put part of it in and try to fit our personality and who were were? We felt like that we needed to get in the system and give ourselves the opportunity to recruit that position. That's what a lot of people don't realize. You stay with the style of play that you had been and you adjust when you get the people. But if you don't make the adjustment you're not going to get the people, they're not going to come here. It's kind of a double-edged sword. How far do you go? How deep do you jump in? You'd better jump in because if you want players to fit those positions than you'd better have something on tape to show them that's what you need. With the addition of (transfer Adarius) Bowman and Anthony Parks you get two mature players who can hopefully help you in the first game next year."

GoPokes Top Stories