By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Only one of 23 signings by the Oklahoma State University football program on Wednesday was from Oklahoma. Coaches traveled hundreds of miles from Stillwater to recruit players. What made those recruiting trips successful was the use of private planes.
“We have a number of donors and OSU supporters that donate us private planes to allow us get to one city to another,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Without everyone pulling in the same direction and the use of planes, it would be difficult to put together a class like this.”
The Cowboys signed 17 players from Texas, two from Georgia and one each from Missouri, Kansas and Utah.
Oklahoma State is being more cautious with its personnel flying in private planes after the November 2011 plane crash that killed then-women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and women’s assistant coach Miranda Serna. Gundy said the aircraft is thoroughly checked before use.
“There’s stipulations and things in place that we go through,” Gundy said. “We certainly make sure that we are traveling on planes that are serviced and everything.”
The Cowboys signed Darius Curry, the younger brother of freshman wide receiver C.J. Curry, from Flowery Branch, Ga. According to ESPN.com, Darius is a four-star recruit and is ranked 23rd among cornerbacks. He was team captain and MVP.
“He’s a big, physical corner who is athletic,” cornerbacks coach Jason Jones said. “He has a high football IQ — his dad was his high school defensive coordinator.”
Also from Georgia is defensive end Naim Mustafaa from College Park. Mustafaa enrolled early and will participate in spring practice. He is the son of former NFL player Najee Mustafaa, who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders in the 1990s. His cousin, Derek Smith, played in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said Mustafaa is a big-time defensive end who can rush the passer.
“He has a very high motor and is a competitor,” Spencer said. “He uses his hands very well. He is a quiet person by nature, but he turns it up when he’s on the field.”
The farthest recruit from Stillwater was defensive tackle Ofa Hautau, a junior college transfer from Salt Lake City, Utah. This past season at Snow College, Hautau recorded 41 tackles, five sacks and 11 tackles for a loss, earning First-Team All-American from the National Junior College Athletic Association. New defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements said Hautau can play from sideline to sideline.
“You can tell that he plays with a tremendous amount of energy and strength,” Clements said. “He’s a guy that can be very disruptive for us up front. Our hope is that he comes right in and makes an impact immediately.”
Of the 17 Texas recruits, six are from cities more than 500 miles from Stillwater. Rennie Childs will graduate from Cypress Ridge and played running back for the Rams. In his senior season, he rushed for 1,945 yards and scored 19 touchdowns. Gundy said the team was able to sign him after junior running back Joseph Randle declared for the NFL draft.
“We liked (Childs) from the start, but (Corion) Webster committed first,” Gundy said. “We’re excited about both of them and we think they fit our style of play.”
Brandon Garrett from Deer Park, Texas, played at Trinity Valley Community College and was one of five offensive lineman signed. He enrolled early and could push for immediate playing time.
“The big guys are difficult to find,” Gundy said. “We wanted to make sure we got those on both sides of the ball.”
Tre Flowers from Converse, Texas, was an All-District and All-Area selection with 76 tackles and three interceptions in his senior year. Also from the San Antonio area is safety Jordan Sterns, who was a Class 5A first-team All-State selection at Cibolo Steele that scored five non-offensive touchdowns last season. Vincent Taylor played defensive end at James Madison High School in San Antonio and was a Class 5A first-team All-State and area player of the year.
From the Austin area, Deric Robertson was a top 100 recruit in Texas, forced five fumbles, recovered a fumble and had two interceptions in his senior season. Other out-of-state recruits include Jack Kurzu, a first-team All-State offensive lineman from St. Louis, Mo., and cornerback Jerel Morrow from Emporia, Kan., who was a first-team All-State as a receiver and defensive back.