December was a big recruiting month for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys added four commitments, including key signings of two junior college prospects in linebacker Patrick Macon and offensive lineman Arlington Hambright who figure to be instant impact players next season.
Oklahoma State’s 2017 recruiting class ranks 27th nationally and 2nd in the Big 12 conference by 247sports, behind the rival Oklahoma Sooners, who are likely to wind up with a top-5 overall recruiting class before signing day.
With 22 recruits in tow and signing day less than a month away, let’s take a look at PFB’s big board of top targets and update where the Pokes stand on each below. Keep in mind many of these recruitment situations are fluid. Some kids could commit at any time, while some may take their decision to signing day. So there are a lot of moving pieces in each case. Additionally, there will almost certainly be new names emerge – or names not on this list that haven’t surfaced – in the days leading up to signing day.
|NAME||POSITION||OTHERS IN THE MIX|
|ENO BENJAMIN||RB||Arizona State, Texas, Michigan, Missouri|
|GEORGE MOORE||OL||Cal, Syracuse, Wazzu, Memphis, San Diego St.|
|CALEB CHANDLER||OL||Florida, Louisville|
|ELEASAH ANDERSON||OL||TCU, Houston|
|MATTHEW HUHN||OL||SMU, Houston, Baylor|
|DAVID ANENIH||DE||K-State, Houston, Boise St.|
|TYLER TAYLOR||ILB||Georgia, Alabama, Auburn|
|MATA HOLA||OLB||BYU, Utah State, Boise State|
|FUA LEILUA||DT||TCU, Houston|
As you can see from the board, offensive line is still a major priority for Oklahoma State coaches. It’s an all hands on deck situation. Marcus Arroyo is even sliding in to try and find some help. But of note, OSU cannot take a commitment from each of these on the board. That’s why the situation is tricky. I believe they would like to close with two more OL to close the class.
George Moore, a teammate of recent OSU tight end commit Sione Finefeuiaki, would be a junior college prospect who could come in right away. Eleasah Anderson and Caleb Chandler are the two high school prospects who I think Oklahoma State has the best chance with. Anderson’s 247sports crystal ball currently reads 100 percent in favor of OSU. Anderson and Chandler are both making commitments at the end of January.
Matthew Huhn, who committed to Houston over OSU during the Tom Herman era, may be looking for a place to land soon. Texas has not offered, and I get the feeling OSU may be a legitimate option for him.
OSU has recruited very well at this position in the 2017 class. They have the Thunder in Georgia all-state running back and record-setter J.D. King, and Lightning with Canadian track-star Chuba Hubbard. So if they go to signing day with those two in tow, I feel like they would be satisfied. But should they take another, I’m told, it would have to be an elite prospect. Someone who could come in and compete for a large role right away.
Despite Eno Benjamin’s apparent heavy lean towards Texas, Marcus Arroyo and Benjamin seem to have a good rapport, and the opportunity for immediate playing time and a large role seems to be there if he wants it. At this point, my guess is that OSU will stand pat with what they have, and Benjamin likely heads to Austin.
So this is a prime example of why recruiting is weird.
Oklahoma State has held the commitment of Fua Leilua, a junior college defensive tackle, for several weeks now. But since then, he’s made it clear that his commitment is rather soft, shopping himself to schools and openly declaring he was planning to take official visits to find the best fit for him.
Many believed he was waiting on an offer from TCU, which he received just last week. Now OSU will have to fend off the Horned Frogs before he makes his final decision, which is expected to be soon.
At defensive end, Pflugerville defensive end Nelson Mbanasor flipped his commitment to Texas Tech. So I think they would accept a commitment from a defensive end if Annenih or any prospect emerges late.
If you take a peak at OSU’s recruitment list, there aren’t any listed cornerbacks signed up. Which seems like a problem. But they do have a number of defensive backs signed up: LaMarcus Morton, Tre Sterling, Kris McCune, Thabo Mwaniki, and Malcolm Rodriguez.
All of those have played primarily at safety or as an athlete on offense in high school.
My suspicion is that OSU will still be keeping an eye for a member to fill in at cornerback to add to this list. But if not, Kris McCune, Thabo Mwaniki or Tre Sterling could all play at cornerback, should a switch of positions be required, although I don’t think it will.
The 2016 class had several cornerbacks with promise that they signed — one of which redshirted. I’d expect Rodarius Williams, AJ Green, and Madre Harper to all see expanded roles as true cornerbacks in the 2017 season.
To conclude, it’s important to remember as stated above that all of these recruitment situations are fluid. There’s a lot of nuance that may be difficult to understand, but each one is delicate in it’s own regard. Coaches have their own plans behind closed doors. But this list is a pretty open recruitment group to keep an eye on that I believe OSU is considering, and could be seriously contending for.
National signing day is set for Feb. 1, so the race to the finish line is officially on. With how OSU stands, I’d expect several more commitments down the stretch, with both some good and bad surprises likely to help close out the 2017 class.