Lawson-Kennedy, a blue-chip prospect, announced his intent to play for OSU Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest regional television. His decision attracted the interest of much of the Big 12 Conference and its fans.
And OSU coach Les Miles was just as surprised as all of the other viewers.
"We felt like things were going well, felt like we had every opportunity at signing him," Miles said of Lawson-Kennedy at the signing day press conference. "But he fell short of telling us exactly where he was going to go before he made his decision, so we were all anxious like everybody who was watching. I initially thought can you imagine what recruiting is going into here — I mean, an eighteen-year old who's got the entire southwest and is holding us hostage over his decision.
"Until he picked up the
OSU officially signed 31 players on Wednesday. Among them were some of the region's highly-recruited defensive linemen and
"It's kind of standard," Miles said of his decision to wait before judging the class's ability. "I think every coach in
"But on paper it's as quality of a recruiting class that I've been around. It's talented and gives us a great opportunity to work with talented young men. It gives us the opportunity to have some far reaching goals."
With the graduation of several players from the defensive line, the OSU staff knew they needed to make a push for defensive line players who could make a quick impact. Miles accomplished that with the signing of one of the nation's top defensive line prospects in Lawson-Kennedy and several others. Brad Girtman, from
"In every year, you look to replenish needs," Miles said. "In the defensive line — with losing Kevin Williams, who was a great player for us and a leader on our defense, and LaWaylon Brown — we needed to really do a great job replacing those guys in this recruiting class. We did so with both Brad Girtman and Xavier Lawson-Kennedy. Those two guys will have an opportunity to figure here awfully early. With Efe Mowarin, it predicts to be a quality quality class, defensive line guys."
Miles also picked up several recruits for the offensive line, which is expected to be a future problem. Corey Hilliard will fill a need along the offensive front along with Jerome Bremby and Adam Gourley.
"We had to replace those guys with tall, athletic tackles and did so with Corey Hilliard and Jerome Bremby," Miles said. "They are both tall, athletic men who gave us that style of player. (Hilliard) and Jerome Bremby are the physical types that might be able to play early. The only question will be how they approach it if they're ready to get on campus and get comfortable in the academics and be ready to compete right away, or whether they need a year to get their feet underneath them academically and get adjusted to their surroundings before they could compete, I don't know. But those would be the two guys who would compete as true freshman.
"I think Adam Guerrly is a junior college guy and with three years left to play. He'll be a little older and a little bit more mature. He might have an early nod in the opportunity to compete early."
One question with prime interest was what to do with Woods, who was named the Oklahoma Offensive Player of the Year by the Daily Oklahoman. Miles said Woods projects to be a talented quarterback.
"At quarterback, you have Donovan Woods who with some work and development could predict to be as good and talented as any dual-threat quarterback that can throw and run the football," Miles said.