Signing Day: Analysis of the Class of 2008

The 2008 Oklahoma State recruiting class will end up being ranked as one of the top 40 in the nation. This class is not ranked as high as Mike Gundy's first two recruiting classes (both of which received top-25 rankings), but it certainly addressed the Cowboys' needs, most specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

6-0, 175, 4.34
Bench: 225. Squat: 350. Vertical: 38"
Wide Receiver
Wichita Falls, Texas
Wichita Falls High

Robert Allen's Analysis: Anderson represents a true find because as soon as his commitment became public, schools took notice and found what the OSU staff did, a potential big-time wide receiver at the Division-I level. He will only improve. He has good hands, catches the ball well, and the true speed to stretch a defense vertically. He could compete immediately for playing time in the rotation, but with the numbers at wide receiver a redshirt year could be wise.

6-2, 210 4.5
Coral Springs, Fla.
Fort Scott (Kans.) Community College

Robert Allen's Analysis: He's a huge hitter who will bring a desired physical presence to the back end of the Cowboy defense. You have to love his story and realize from it that this guy won't be intimidated on the field by any team or any player. The only drawback is that he is still just in his fifth year of playing football. He will be exposed to some schemes, coverages, and offensive tactics that he has never seen before. The faster his personal learning curve, the better.

6-5, 238, 4.66
Tight End
Tuttle, Okla.
Tuttle High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: He could actually play on either side of the ball, and I am still trying to figure out a reason he wasn't thrown the ball more in high school because every catch I saw him make went for 30 yards or more. Physically he is ahead of fellow Cowboy signee Justin Horton, and is a proven blocker coming out of the Tuttle run-oriented offense. Since a freshman tight end will likely have to play right away he would be my nominee. I also like that he grew up a Cowboy and bleeding orange. This program needs more of those players that will take everything personal.

6-2, 195, 4.5
Wide Receiver
Ardmore, Okla.
Plainview High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: He ranks right up there with Anderson as a huge pickup at this position. There were bigger names nationally, and even in state, with the likes of Jameel Owens at Muskogee, but Blackmon's numbers are just as big, actually bigger when you add them all up. If you are wondering how good an athlete he truly is then go check him out on the basketball court. Physically, he can play right away. The question will be how fast does he pick things up. OSU offensive assistant coaches Gunter Brewer, Trooper Taylor and Doug Meacham might want to build a wall because if I were Tim Beckman, Joe DeForest and Jason Jones I would try to steal Blackmon for defense. He could redshirt, but it'll be tough.

6-0, 225, 4.6
Klein, Texas
Navarro (Texas) Junior College

Robert Allen's Analysis: Get out the ink pen and write him in for immediate duty. The disappointment is that he wasn't able to be part of the mid-term class. He'll have to study hard during June and July to pick up the defense. His numbers speak volumes about what he can accomplish, and he could end up playing that spotlight linebacker position in Beckman's defense.

5-8, 170, 4.4
Houston, Texas
Spring Westfield High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Some have questioned his size, but his coaches in high school and opposing coaches do not. Brown is a physical pest to a wide receiver and uses his speed and athleticism to make up for lack of height. He will be helped by the strength and conditioning program. With the numbers at the cornerback position and junior college standout Maurice Gray arriving at midterm, a redshirt season could certainly be a possibility for Brown.

6-4, 295, 4.9
Bench Press: 360. Squat: 500. Vertical: 30"
Offensive Lineman
Corwley, Texas
Crowley High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Redshirts are usually standard for the freshmen offensive linemen, and that would be the projection for Davis. However, all of the numbers in size, speed, and strength point to a player that could possibly walk in and compete at the Division I level. The Cowboys don't have a numbers problem on the offensive line, returning five players with starting experience. However, if injuries occur then Davis would be a player that could surface. A great bet for a future offensive tackle for this offense..

6-3, 280, 5.1
Defensive Tackle
Anderson, S.C.
Coffeyville (Kans.) Community College

Robert Allen's Analysis: One of the handpicked defensive tackles by defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. It is no secret there is an emergency need for help at that position. Donaldson is a "3 tech" player that will help. A real important part of the transition for the mid-term players including Donaldson has been the work in the weight room with Rob Glass and his staff. The junior college defensive linemen need to get stronger and do it fast. Spring practice will be a huge test for this group.

6-2, 215, 4.65
Bench: 300. Squat. 500. Vertical: 39"
Outside Linebacker
Dallas, Texas
Skyline High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: A tremendous athlete who has seen more time as a defensive end in high school but will make the conversion to linebacker. He projects as an outside linebacker. What the OSU staff had to love in seeing him play in high school was his aggressive attitude and ability to shake off blockers, go right to the ball, and finish the play. He has a big frame that should fill out to around 235 to 240 pounds which will make him really lethal to ball carriers and passers in the future. Oklahoma State needs the help at linebacker and he is a premier recruit, but because of the transition from DE to LB a redshirt season is not a bad move.

6-6, 235, 4.85
Bench: 265. Squat: 305
Defensive End
Sherman, Texas
Sherman High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: You've heard the terms… he'd win a beauty contest or he should be the first player off the bus. They both have to do with physical presence and Gray has it. They don't look much better than he does coming out of high school. There is no doubt he has some growing to do and he did miss some football his senior season with injuries. Add that to the players at defensive end going into the 2008 season and a redshirt campaign would make all the sense in the world for Gray. That'll be determined, but he has the ability to be a future star at Oklahoma State.

5-10, 185, 4.48
Defensive Back
Kathleen (Warner-Robbins), Ga.
Butler (Kans.) Community College

Robert Allen's Analysis: Gray is probably the most overlooked of the mid-term players in the 2008 recruiting class. But he could wind up being the most valuable. He is an excellent player that has both ability and confidence. Thee were some lapses at cornerback last season for the Cowboys, and Gray will immediately challenge for a starting position. Let's just say I have a strong feeling on this guy that he starts and makes a large impact for Beckman's defense next season.

6-3 1/2, 295, 5.1
Bench: 430. Squat: 660. Vertical: 27"
Offensive Lineman
Castroville, Texas
Medina Valley High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: It's not even fair for me to comment because he was coached in high school by the smallest, grittiest high school offensive linemen, actually a center, in the history of Texas high school football. That coach – Brian Emerson – also happens to be one of my best friends. If Hoog, who is anything but scrawny and is as strong as any incoming freshman lineman in OSU history, picked up on the lessons taught by Emerson, he will be in good shape. Here's another great fact on Hoog, he won't turn 18 until after school starts in the fall. He is a redshirt player who learns this next season and prepares for great days ahead.

6-4, 220, 4.55
Tight End
Henderson, Texas
Henderson High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Horton is absolutely the fastest tight end candidate ever to come to Oklahoma State. He could be a big wide receiver and work in that role just fine. He has the ability to succeed Brandon Pettigrew as a big-play pass catcher at tight end. The strength and conditioning program will be his best ally as he prepares for that role. There is an immediate need for depth and help at tight end. Horton may earn the role of helping early or a redshirt year would serve him and the Cowboys big dividends down the line.

5-11, 214, 4.5
Bench: 320
Running Back
Lawrenceville (Central Gwinnett), Ga.
Butler (Kans.) Community College

Robert Allen's Analysis: He is coming off a spectacular season in which he was seldom stopped or slowed down, and helped Butler Community College to the national championship. A little different type of back than what Cowboys fans have seen as of late, Johnson can run easily between the tackles but also get the job done on the perimeter. He reminds me of Thurman Thomas in his running style. He is strong and capable of running over a defender as well as around one. One area where I can see him helping immediately is in goal-line and short-yardage situations combining power with speed. OSU didn't have a back with this blend of talent in unsuccessful goal-line situations last season..

6-2, 179, 4.55
Bench: 230. Squat: 375. Vertical: 34''
Waco, Texas
Waco High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: One of the three safeties in this class, and maybe the biggest of the hitters. Johnson was notorious in Central Texas for making big sticks on Friday nights. He became such a force that opposing quarterbacks and ball carries were encouraged, even drilled by their coaches, to avoid him. His tackle numbers went down instead of up during his Waco High career, and that is because teams avoided him. He plays more physical and bigger than the 179 pounds that he actually is. After he has been in the OSU program for a year he will really be a force. You can also expect to see plenty of Johnson immediately on special teams.

6-3, 185, 4.45
Wichita Falls, Texas
Rider High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Martin is another standout safety who is a good hitter and tremendous athlete. His advantage over fellow Texas high school standout safety Victor Johnson is that he is on campus and will be participating in spring football. Martin has done well in the off-season program and seems to have made a seamless adjustment to college life. Physically, he is very impressive and there is no doubt that he will be contributing this fall, probably both on defense and on special teams.

6-3, 310, 5.05
Defensive Tackle
St. Alachua (Santa Fe), Fla.
Butler (Kans.) Community College

Robert Allen's Analysis: From a defensive line perspective, Miller is the most crucial recruit in the class. He is a "1 tech" or nosetackle-type player and the Cowboys badly need somebody that can step in and be more dominant in controlling the middle of the line of scrimmage. They need a defensive tackle that will help in stopping the run and get push to help further the pass rush. Miller did plenty of that for the junior college national champions at Butler. As with all the junior college linemen he had some catching up to do in the strength department but is on the way to doing that and will be getting his first experience with the defense in spring football. It is critical that Miller help out.

5-10, 180, 4.36
Bench: 295. Vertical: 36"
Running Back
Marlin, Texas
Marlin High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: As far as potential Miller may have the most of any recruit in the Cowboys class. He has incredible speed and plenty of moves. However, he needs experience in using them. As a senior Miller played more slot and wide receiver than he did running back, which is where the Cowboys offensive staff intends to use him, so he needs work at that position. In time he could bring the same electricity to the offense than Dantrell Savage did. A redshirt season is not a definite but wouldn't be a surprise as it could help in Miller making the transition to college football, and back to running back.

6-5, 301, 4.9
Offensive Lineman
Choctaw, Okla.
Snow (Utah) Junior College

Robert Allen's Analysis: Another great story in the recruiting class made even greater because he is an Oklahoma native. Mitchell is a future NFL offensive lineman. The bonus for Oklahoma State is it gets a very mature player, both mentally and physically, who is highly motivated. He has shown solid strength and work habits in the weight room. He will compete for one of the tackle jobs this spring, and we expect him to win one of them and start in the opener in Seattle against Washington State on Aug. 30.

6-4, 230, 4.75
Tight End
Memphis, Tenn.
Kingsbury High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Mosley, when you combined his pass-catching and blocking abilities, is probably the most physically advanced of the Cowboy tight end signees. He probably shoots to the top of the list of tight end signees who plays as a freshman.

6-3, 245, 4.7
Defensive End
Rossville, Ga.
Ridgeland High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: An unsung recruit that the Cowboys out-recruited Duke on only to see a number of schools try to come in on at the last minute. Louisville tried very hard to get Nicholas to visit on the final weekend. He was equally gifted in high school as a defensive end and a tight end, but will start out on the defensive side of the ball and his high school coach believes he may grow into a defensive tackle with his frame. Physical tools say he could earn playing time as a freshman, but common sense tells you it would be great if he redshirted. What happens in August will be the deciding factor.

6-4, 245, 4.7
Defensive End
Collins, Miss.
Jones County (Miss.) Junior College

Robert Allen's Analysis: Price is very athletic and highly motivated which will make watching him during spring football interesting. He showed a tendency in junior college for making big plays, monster sacks primarily. Video shows he gets to a quarterback so quick the target has a hard time making a decision to avoid Price's rush. He needs to get stronger, like all the junior college defensive linemen, but he isn't making plays inside, he's making then off the edge.

6-4, 190, 4.45
Bench: 205. Squat: 355. Vertical: 35"
Wide Receiver
Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: First of all, we would like to give Richards a commendation on his maturity and understanding. Richards was scheduled to come in early at midterm like Kody Spano. Unlike Spano, Richards and his family were understanding of the situation and made the most of it with some community college classes and earning some college spending money with a part-time job. Richards is very talented and could play immediately if needed. He probably won't be and the redshirt season will only make him better down the line.

6-1, 185, 4.5
Mansfield, Texas
Mansfield Summit High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Sharp comes into a ready made situation. There is a good reason that Sports Illustrated featured him in the magazine, and Chris Sailer, the most respected of kicking gurus out there, calls him the number one kicking prospect in the country. Sharp is consistent and has a big leg. He talks like he would like to come in and do it all, which is nice because you like a kicker with confidence. The truth of the matter is Matt Fodge will punt, and Dan Bailey proved last season he is a gem on kickoffs. Sharp needs to make field goals, an area that cost the Cowboys at least one win, maybe two, during the 2007 season.

6-0, 200, 4.5
Bench: 280. Squat: 380. Vertical: 31"
Running Back
Guthrie, Okla.
Guthrie High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: Staley represents one of the most decorated recruits – especially one of the most decorated in-state recruits – to sign with Oklahoma State. Staley arguably was the top high school football player in Oklahoma last season. He is a winner and that will serve him well. There is no doubt that after years of being a multi-purpose quarterback for Guthrie that Staley is a running back. Oklahoma State should, and likely will, consider adding a shotgun direct snap package to the offense like Arkansas had with Darren McFadden, as Staley played (quite well) a similar role at Guthrie. He could play immediately but that depends on how the running back position shakes out in the spring and in August.

6-2 1/2, 300, 5.2
Bench: 350. Squat: 500. Vertical: 24"
Offensive Lineman
Arlington, Texas
Martin High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: A mini "Hulk" is what Taylor is. If you watch him on tape all you see is Taylor repeatedly blocking, often to the ground, opposing defenders. He is an ideal player to groom as an offensive guard or center, or a combination of the two. There is no need for him this upcoming season, and while he doesn't need the weight room as bad as many incoming high school offensive linemen the redshirt season will do him well.

6-0, 180, 4.5
Defensive Back
Texas City, Texas
Texas City High School

Robert Allen's Analysis: A possible corner, safety or maybe even a running back, you can call Thomas one of the most gifted athletes in the recruiting class. All you have to do is look at his numbers as he specialized in defense his junior season and switched to offense as a senior. My gut instinct is he plays right away as he was a Joe DeForest recruit, and I get the feeling that DeForest has immediate plans for Thomas on special teams.

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