Oklahoma State’s first day of the early signing period ended up producing some drama. It didn’t have anything to do with the recruits that signed their letters of intent though. On the backs of 4-star recruits Grayson Boomer and Langston Anderson the Cowboys ended the day with the nation’s 44th ranked class for 2019.
With disappointment beginning to swirl up from message boards, talk radio, and social media Mike Gundy stepped up to the podium to talk about his newest crop of recruits, and that’s when the drama started.
“We go after every six-star, eight-star, four-star and every star in the world … and they all go to other schools at this point,” Gundy said. “So we go get whatever else is out there.”
The OSU head coach was indirectly responding to a question about quarterbacks. The Cowboys signed 3-star San Clemente, CA prospect Brendan Costello as their signal caller for the 2019 class which raised some eyebrows following a season in which quarterback play was often the center of Sunday morning discussions.
Gundy’s comments did more than raise eyebrows though. It sparked outrage and may folks in the Cowboy nation felt as if the winningest coach in program history was defeated and had given up. Tulsa World columnist Bill Haisten wrote on Friday that perhaps Gundy was suffering from burn out.
There are two realities that the Orange and Black Nation to face here though. First, a program like Oklahoma State is going to have down years in recruiting. If that statement offended you then that’s part of the problem. It’s completely unrealistic to hold OSU in the same regard as Oklahoma, and even Texas, when it comes to bringing in four and five-star talent on a regular basis. The truth is, OSU is a lot closer to running with the pack that includes Texas Tech and Iowa State.
Yes, I am aware that the Pokes are looking at a five-year low if things hold with the current recruiting rankings. You know what though? So is Mike Gundy. That brings us to the second reality. Sometimes the truth hurts.
The perhaps hasn’t been a coach in the Big 12 better at turning lemons into lemonade than Mike Gundy. If the Cowboys were to lose the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Even then it will break a streak of 12 consecutive winning seasons in Stillwater. That’s an amazing streak!
Consider this though. In that span, OSU only produced Top 30 recruiting classes five times and a Top 20 class once. Yet in the same time fame Gundy has produced six ten-win seasons or better. Mike Gundy knows what he’s doing because he’s been doing it for a long time. So long, in fact, that fans are now unaware of what the program was like before he arrived.
You know what else Mike Gundy is good at? Trolling!
When facing criticism after losing to Iowa State, and his choice of a starting quarterback, Gundy replied with, “I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life as a football coach.” That was nothing more than a straight troll.
Let’s not think for a minute that Mike Gundy has forgotten what athletic director Mike Holder had to say about recruiting back in June. Let’s refresh for those who may not remember.
“I would approach recruiting a little differently than (Gundy) does,” Holder said. “I’d want to finish up higher in those recruiting rankings than we consistently do.”
That’s what Gundy’s comments were about on Wednesday. This recruiting class didn’t sneak up on him. He know who his commitments were and who he was in and out on long before any letters of intent started arriving Wednesday morning.
Mike Gundy gets it. He gets that recruiting changes every year and one class does not define a coach or a program.
There’s a danger in thinking that you’re better than you really are. When reality hits you then it can destroy you. Mike Gundy doesn’t have that problem. He’s proven over and again that his program can compete on the field with any team in the conference, despite the fact that it can’t do so on the recruiting trail.