Cowboys, Aggies Battle On And Off The Field

STILLWATER – To win in the Big 12 Conference, and eventually contend for league championships, the Oklahoma State Cowboys need to get the same type of players that Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M have been recruiting for years. That's why Mike Gundy put an emphasis on recruiting the state of Texas after being promoted to head coach three years ago.

Oklahoma State, 3-2, will travel to Texas A&M, 4-1, this weekend with a chance of taking sole possession of first place in the Big 12 South Division. The Cowboys will make the trip to College Station, Texas, and then return to Stillwater with their share of Texans, many of whom will play vital roles in Saturday's showdown with the Aggies.

The Cowboys, who have 53 Texans on their roster as compared to 28 players from Oklahoma, have put a greater emphasis on recruiting the state of Texas since Gundy became head coach. Thanks to coaches like Joe DeForest (who recruits the Houston area), Doug Meacham, Gunter Brewer and Curtis Luper, OSU has begun winning the battles for such players as Texas standouts Dez Bryant, Perrish Cox and Richetti Jones in the last few years.

Bryant, the freshman wide receiver out of Lufkin, Texas, who has 11 catches in his first four college games, picked OSU over LSU, Nebraska, Arkansas, Iowa and Texas A&M.

Cox, a sophomore cornerback/kick returner from Waco, Texas, was outstanding in Saturday's win over Sam Houston State. He finished with a career-high seven unassisted tackles and returned a punt 49 yards for a touchdown against the Bearkats.

Jones, a freshman defensive end from Dallas who will likely redshirt this year, decided to sign with OSU after receiving offers from Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.

Other Texas high school standouts who have signed with OSU in recent years – over schools like Texas A&M – include William Cole, Ugo Chinasa, James Thomas and Damian Davis.

"I'm just glad that we're able to contend in recruiting," Gundy said Monday during his weekly news conference. "A&M has always traditionally recruited good football players, and they have good football players now. We have to continue to recruit good quality players to be competitive in this league.

It only makes sense that the Cowboy coaching staff focuses most of its recruiting efforts in Texas. "We're averaging probably five or six guys a year being offered (in Oklahoma), and down there (in Texas) they're averaging 350 a year," he said.

Gundy refused to speculate whether the Cowboy coaching staff is now winning the recruiting battle with the Aggies (although Texas A&M did get running back Mike Goodson to switch after originally committing to OSU). But it's safe to say that OSU is now going head-to-head against Texas A&M on many recruiting battles – and winning a lot of them.

It's safe to say that the Cowboy coaching staff will continue to recruit Texas, including the Houston area, and get more than its share of talented players.

"Somebody asked me a question the other day, ‘How could South Florida do what they do?' They average over 300 Division I football players a year coming out of that state (of Florida)," Gundy said. "You can only take so many because of the 85 (scholarship limit), which helps everybody in the country, and Southwest (Airlines) flies direct from Houston to Tulsa."

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