Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Oklahoma State commits in full support
By Damon Sayles
Hours after Sports Illustrated released a report on Tuesday alleging that former Oklahoma State players received improper funding from coaches and boosters, ESPN 300 running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) delivered welcome news to the Cowboys faithful.
“Pokes, ride or die,” Thomas said.
With news that could be detrimental to a strong recruiting class, some of the Cowboys’ biggest targets said they still are solid with their commitments. Thomas is Oklahoma State’s top-ranked running back commit.
Thomas also is Oklahoma State’s second-highest ranked recruit. The top-ranked recruit, ESPN 300 quarterback Mason Rudolph (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern), admitted that he hasn’t had a chance to get the complete story, but he doesn’t plan on playing anywhere other than in Stillwater, Okla.
Rudolph is the No. 7 pocket-passing quarterback in the country and, more importantly, someone Mike Gundy and his staff feels is a perfect fit for the Cowboys’ high-octane offense.
“I don’t know all of the info of the situation,” Rudolph said, “but as of now, I’m still a firm commit.”
Three-star guard Lem Galeai (Euless, Texas/Trinity) is one of two offensive linemen committed to Oklahoma State. Tuesday evening, Galeai said the allegations are just that to them, and he is more than ready to put on a Cowboys uniform next fall.
“I am committed, and I will be fully committed to Oklahoma State,” said Galeai, who added that he has spoken with another commitment, three-star safety Dylan Harding (Jenks, Okla./Jenks). The two played against each other over the weekend in Southlake, Texas, at the annual Southwest Showcase.
Of Oklahoma State’s 20 commits, eight are expected to play on the offensive side of the ball. Losing defensive players to scandal would be damaging, particularly in a Big 12 conference that features traditional scoring offenses in Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
ESPN 300 cornerback Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) silenced all concerns by admitting he’s still committed. He added that he spoke with his high school teammate and fellow Oklahoma State commit, high three-star receiver Keenen Brown, and Brown isn’t looking to go anywhere either.
“I’ve talked with Coach Gundy,” Hardeman said, “and I feel confident in where I stand and this situation. [Brown] is kind of taking it the same way as me.”
Whether or not Oklahoma State loses commitments in the next few weeks is yet to be determined. Tuesday’s report was the first of what’s expected to be a five-part series.
For now, the Cowboys still are sitting pretty with 20 commitments -- and looking to gain more.