All-star receivers highlight OSU’s 2013 recruiting class

February 14, 2013

Oklahoma State may not have signed a quarterback last week but they did add some targets for the three outstanding quarterbacks already in the program.

“We are able to recruit wide receivers from a much larger area than we do in some of the other positions,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “We have a number of young men that show a lot of interest in us and at some point it can work against you but for the most part it works for us.”

Marcell Ateman and Ra’Shaad Samples fit the mold of standout receivers at OSU.

“One of them is six-foot-four and he gives us a lot,” said Gundy “He’s very athletic and very physical. He’s 190 pounds now so he’s going to play at 210. He’s every bit of six-four and he might be taller than that, in Marcell [Ateman]. [Ra'Shaad] Samples isn’t as tall but he’s really fast, has great side-to-side movement and he’ll be a really good outside receiver for us. His body type is a lot like Josh Stewart’s, but he brings enough to the table that he’ll play on the outside for us. Both of these guys will fit in and have an opportunity to play in the first game.”

Another player with great potential is Dawson Bassett – the younger brother of Cooper Bassett – from Tuttle, Okla.

“He’ll be a defensive player,” Gundy said. “Dawson has earned everything he’s gotten up to this point. He was a little bit of a tweener for us because the positions that we needed him at and the positions he played, we weren’t going to take them in this class. From a talent standpoint and his attitude and his love of the game, we would have taken him months ago, but we really didn’t need him at outside linebacker because we have so many young players at that position. We were able to find a way to get him in our class. He’s going to be 245-250 pounds within 18 months.

“He’s more active side-to side than Cooper [Bassett]. If he’s anything of a player and has the loyalty that Cooper had for our program, then he’s a great take for us. From a talent standpoint, we liked him from day one, we just didn’t know that he fit in this class. Unfortunately, sometimes that happens, but we’re thrilled that he’s a part of a great family and great Oklahoma State people.”

Gundy likes signing players from the same family.

“If you grow up in a coaching family, you have a good chance of having a feel for what it’s like – the everyday environment of athletics and the pressure and the challenges involved,” Gundy said. “We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had some brothers that have come through here that have done very well. That’s a sign that we’re handling them the right way and they’re happy here at Oklahoma State. If they weren’t happy, their brothers wouldn’t want to come here.

“We’ve been very fortunate because the guys that are coming through here are good players and their brothers were good players. I feel like Oklahoma State is starting to build a football tradition and that’s the foundation of where it starts. The former players have to come back and be a part of our alumni weekend. A number of our players have come back on their open weekend in the NFL and they are on the sidelines. They do that on their own. They come back and they want to be here and they want to be a part of our team. We’re starting to build some of that tradition that over years and years will begin to pay off for our football team.”

Two big holes for OSU next year will be the loss for kicker Quinn Sharp and running back Joseph Randle.

“We’ve brought Ben Grogan in as our kicker and we feel really good about his future,” Gundy said. “When I watch tape of these players, if he makes a field goal then he’s good and if not we move to the next guy. He kicked a lot of them that went between the goal posts and he has a strong leg. He has the capability of kicking a 50-yarder right now. His work habits are really good.

“Special teams players at our level – snappers, holders, kickers – have to be willing to do it on their own. We have people responsible for them, but the number of teams that have kicking and or punting coaches would be very minimal so they have to have great work habits.

“We think that he’s a guy who’s willing to work really hard to make himself a better player.

“At the running back position we were just going to take one and we had Corion Webster committed to us for months. Coach Singleton did a really good job of communicating with others. We didn’t have that extra scholarship slot until Joseph Randle made himself available for the draft. Then we were able to pick up Rennie Childs. We liked him from the start, but Webster committed first. We’re excited about both of them and we think they fit our style of play.”

The newest group of Cowboys includes three junior college players, two of whom are already enrolled and attending school at Oklahoma State. The class is represented by six states, and headlined by 17 Texans. Ten of the signees have been designated as “four-star” talents by at least one of the major recruiting services and five future Cowboys are members of the 2013 Texas all-state team.

Oddly enough, OSU only signed one player from within the state.

“We took one from Oklahoma this year and that bothers me,” Gundy said. “We offered a number of them – we didn’t get them. I think it’s important that the people in Oklahoma know, if there’s a player who we think in any case can help us, we’re going to offer him. We want to take care of all the Oklahoma people, then we want to take care of Texas.

“We offered a number of players this year and we didn’t get them. We have fallen back on players, whether it’s Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas or Arkansas, late in the recruiting game. For instance, if you have a recruit jump ship on you, we would just go out there and try to grab another one. That doesn’t work. There’s pressure at times to fill a roster on signing day, or take guys who are close, just because you think you have to make certain people happy. There’s no perfect world there.

“One thing we started years ago, and I think it’s been good for us, is if there’s anyone close to here that can play and fits our system, we’re going to offer him. We may not get him, but we’re going to move forward on him because, in my opinion, a geographical tie to a university and a football team, makes him a better player.

“If you just parachuted me out in the state of Washington, I’m not going to be as comfortable as if you dropped me over on the other side of Tulsa. It’s the same for kids. That’s why we don’t recruit nationally as much here – we’ve had so much success with players who are within a six or seven-hour drive of our school.”

Defensive back Darius Curry is the younger brother of OSU freshman receiver C.J. Curry.

Darius Curry and Naim Mustafaa are the latest Georgians to sign with OSU. Oklahoma State has signed 14 players from Georgia since 2006.

OSU has two 2013 signees from L.D. Bell High School Hurst, Texas, in offensive lineman Jesse Robinson and defensive lineman Vili Leveni.

OSU’s three junior college players are linemen, including defensive tackle Ofa Hautau, defensive end Sam Wren and offensive lineman Brandon Garrett.

OSU’s two running back signees Corion Webster of Atlanta, Texas, and Rennie Childs of Houston combined for 3,731 rushing yards during their senior years.


Oklahoma State Signees

Running Back

Rennie Childs, Houston

Corion Webster, Atlanta, Texas



Wide receivers

Marcell Ateman, Dallas

Ra’Shaad Samples, Dallas

Offensive line

Zachary Crabtree, Mansfield, Texas

Brandon Garrett, Deer Park, Texas

Jack Kurzu, St. Louis, Missouri

Jesse Robinson, Bedford, Texas

Jaxon Salinas, Irving, Texas

Defensive ends

Vili Leveni, Hurst, Texas

Naim Mustafaa, College Park, Georgia

Sam Wren, Palestine, Texas (Arizona Western College)

Defensive line

Ofa Hautau, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ben Hughes, Waco, Texas

Vincent Taylor, San Antonio


Darius Curry, Flowery Branch, Georgia

Taylor Lewis, Dallas

Jerel Morrow, Emporia, Kansas

Defensive back

Tre Flowers, Converse, Texas




Deric Robertso, Killeen, Texas

Jordan Sterns, Cibolo, Texas


Ben Grogan, Arlington, Texas


Dawson Bassett, Tuttle, Okla.