Perhaps it is the pandemic that has led to many high school students having to do distance learning, or simply an excitement to join the Oklahoma State football program.
Whatever the reason may be, the Cowboys will be the benefactors of an unprecedented amount of early enrollees for the program with half of Wednesday’s 21 signees in the 2021 recruiting class expected to be on campus in January to get a semester to transition to the Division I level.
“Getting players in early in getting very popular,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said during his Zoom call to talk about the class that is ranked third in the Big 12 Conference – behind Oklahoma and Texas – by 247Sports. “A lot of these players are graduating early, getting credit and so on and so forth. That’s kind of the style now.”
Nine of the 17 high school seniors who signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday will be signing into classes on the Stillwater campus come January.
Three of the early enrollees are from in-state signees with Norman receiver Jaden Bray, Edmond Santa Fe defensive end Collin Oliver and Muskogee safety Ty Williams.
However, the bulk of the signees coming in early are out of the state of Texas.
Highlighting the early arrivals from the Lone Star State will be twin brothers Blaine and Bryson Greene, wide receivers from Allen. Bryson is considered the second-best prospect for the Pokes in this class – ranked No. 359 overall and 59th at the position – with Blaine ranked No. 442 overall and 70th at receiver. While the idea of twin receivers instantly likens them to the Wallace Brothers on the Cowboy roster, with both of them weighing just over 200 pounds and right around 6-foot, they are not quite as comparable to body type of the 6-foot, 190-pound Tylan Wallace.
“Those guys are going to play at 215 or 220, so you’re obviously looking at a completely different body structure, but with athleticism,” Gundy said. “It’s interesting, every time that I call them or FaceTime, I only had to call one of the numbers because they were inseparable – just like the Wallace brothers.”
Also expected early from out of Texas is offensive lineman Silas Barr of Pottsboro, linebacker Nickolas Martin from Texarkana, cornerback Lyrik Rawls out of Jefferson and receiver John Paul Richardson from Missouri City.
There might be a delay on when they arrive in Stillwater, as Texas extended its prep postseason into mid-January due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gundy said that won’t be an issue if any of his recruits make a run deep into the playoffs when OSU begins its spring semester on Jan. 19.
“They will come in three or four days later, it’s not an issue,” Gundy said. “They’ll still be able to start school. Those games would on Jan. 15 or 16, and we’ve got several players that could potentially be in that position, but they’ll finish up and come rolling on in the next week.”
Two of four transfers are expected to be in at the start of the spring semester with sophomore defensive end Nathan Latu, who played one year at Snow College for former OSU player Andrew Mitchell and did not play in 2020 due to COVID-19, and senior running back Jaylen Warren – who also started at Snow College, but spent the past two seasons at Utah State.
The spring status of fellow transfer Austin Jarrard, who signed as a Cowboy Back out of American River College, is still up in the air, according to Gundy.
Jarrard plays in a junior college conference that elected to move its football season to the spring due to the pandemic, and the Cowboy coaching staff is uncertain if he’ll decide to play in the spring or consider joining the program early.
“We want him to be comfortable with whatever he feels like that he needs to do with his career and his lifestyle,” Gundy said of Jarrard. “We put the ball in his court. I’m just guessing with all the things that flashed across my computer about the virus on the West Coast, I don’t know that they’ll be playing out there, so maybe he shows up sooner, maybe he plays. We’ll just kind of follow his lead.”
While he won’t be a January enrollee, De’kelvion Beamon will be an early enrollee of sorts for Oklahoma State.
Beamon signed Wednesday after reclassifying, as he was originally expected to graduate in 2022. A 6-1, 185-pound cornerback from Shreveport, Louisiana, Beamon is ranked No. 42 at the position, despite being much younger than the other defensive backs in the recruiting class.
He was drawing interest from some major blue blood programs, including Penn State and Texas, along with other Power 5 programs like Virginia and Mississippi State. However, Oklahoma State was in much earlier those other programs, offering Beamon in November of 2019, and committing two months later. It wasn’t until April – nearly four months after his commitment to the Cowboys – that he saw offers from the Nittany Lions, Bulldogs and Longhorns.
“He wanted to come out early and get started, and obviously he’s a player that we’ve wanted for over a year,” Gundy said.