Gundy Likes the 2009 Recruiting Class

Quarterback Clint Chelf of Enid, Okla., was on his way to school to get his Letter of Intent papers signed and faxed to the Oklahoma State football office when he got a text from a Georgia area code. It was future Oklahoma State teammate David Paulsen of Marietta (Walton), Ga., asking if Chelf was a Cowboy yet.

When contacted later, Paulsen said yes, he had sent the text after he had signed at 7:01 a.m. and sent his letter of intent through the fax machine guaranteeing him to be the first signee for Oklahoma State in the 2009 recruiting class on signing day.

Paulsen, part of a breakthrough group of players helping to open up a Georgia pipeline, was so gung ho about becoming a Cowboy that he wanted to be first.

"He has been first-class in recruiting all the way, and there is a school close to David that has a mascot that is a four-legged dog that made a hard push for him right up the last second, including at 6:30 this morning, to try to get him to flip," said Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy happy to talk about the 6-3, 240-pound Paulsen.

"He had enough substance that he had been committed to us for a long time and he knew we had been counting on him and knew we wanted to take one fullback, tight-end, hybrid-type player that was more of an inside guy," Gundy continued.

"We took Tracy Moore (of Tulsa, Okla.) that is more of an outside hybrid-type player for us. David knew that once he committed that we stopped recruiting that position and he stayed with us and that is the kind of guy that he is.

"He is 242 pounds and is very intelligent and is excited about being here with us and looking forward to coming in and being a part of our offense. He may impact us in his first season and he is strong enough physically to do it."

Overall, Gundy was very happy with Oklahoma State's 2009 recruiting class that includes 18 high school signees, one early high school enrollee in school in running back Dexter Pratt of Navasota, Texas, and four junior college players that are already in school and working in the offseason program in preparation of spring football.

"This class is really special and I think the chemistry, and I have not used that word before in reference to a recruiting class, but there is a number of players that are on this list already have a chemistry that I think when they get here will carry over," said Gundy.

"I think they will mold into our current team and we're very excited about those guys. I think a number of players have a good feel for the players on our team. They were able to develop a relationship with them when they were here (on their visit). I know that they will look forward to coming in this summer and working with them."

While a new pipeline was certainly established in Georgia, there was good talent from Texas, and most of those chemistry kids are from Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma group includes Tulsa Union standouts like running back Jeremy Smith and tight end Tracy Moore, Midwest City Carl Albert safety Daytawion Lowe, big offensive linemen like U.S. Army All-American Brandon Webb out of Owasso and Michael Bowie from Sand Springs. Ada linebacker Colton Richardson may be an unsung member of the class, and then the quarterback in the class in Chelf.

"There is no question the high school football in this state is getting better and better and there was a number of players that have a great future and we won our share of battles," explained Gundy.

"We want to inch closer and closer each year to win our share of the battles and we have a plan in place. We're in our fifth year right now and I think we are ahead of pace in our organization.

"Players like (Brandon) Webb and (Michael) Bowie have an opportunity to go a number of places and chose to go to Oklahoma State and it is a tribute to the coaching staff, the assistant coaches, and the guys that are recruiting them, and everybody involved in the process. It is a huge effort to get these players both on the field and in the classroom to get them to come to your school," Gundy said.

"Obviously, we were able to have a lot of success in Texas again," continued Gundy. "Not surprising, with the number of players in Texas, we were able to go down there and bring in some good talent.

"Also, this year we were able to have some success in Georgia. Last year we made the decision to go into the Atlanta area and the suburbs and take a swing. We had a number of players in that area that had shown some interest in Oklahoma State and we were able to pull some out of there. We are very excited to get into that part of the country and pull some talent out of there because the football is very, very good."

A big part of putting together this class was the success on the field. The new facilities helped too. Every player mentioned the coaching staff and their interaction with the coaches. However, flat out exposure helped the Cowboys. They were ranked almost all season and they played in big game on national television.

"You go to Indiana and Jordan Barnes contacted us midway through the season," said Gundy of the standout linebacker in the class. "He had seen us on TV several times during the week and made a call early in the morning out of the blue and said, 'Coach, I watched you on TV' and this is who I am.

"We don't normally go into Indiana so we had to look him up and found out he is a good player and a good student, and then did our research and found out he is a good person. We continued the process and brought him down for a visit and he loved Stillwater and Oklahoma State University and ended up signing him.

"Sometimes that happens, and we have to go back to the (winning) season, and when you stay ranked in the top 25 and you're on the ESPN scroll and you are playing on national TV a lot, that exposure is worth a lot of money. It's worth a lot to your future in recruiting and even in enrollment to your university. He is an example of what can happen.

"We picked up a couple of players from Mississippi and Mississippi junior college players and that is fairly common. There are a lot of good football players in Oklahoma and a lot of good football players in Texas. We always pick up a player or two from Arkansas. When we get out there on TV and get exposed it helps out."

In the future it will be up to this class and the guys that are just ahead and will guide them to keep that exposure up and insure better and better recruiting classes as the Cowboys work to climb the ladder to the Big 12 Championship and beyond.

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