Strong OSU national class also heavy with Oklahoma recruits

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The power of national notoriety was noticeable early in the recruiting period for Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.

Recruits started calling Gundy and his assistants after they were intrigued watching them during the Cowboys' 9-4 2008 season that featured several nationally televised games.

Linebacker Jordan Barnes of Fort Wayne, Ind. -- not normally an Oklahoma State recruiting hotbed -- was one of those players.

"He had seen us play on TV several times and we got a call early in the morning out of the blue from him," Gundy said. "We don't traditionally go in Indiana. But we looked him up and found out he was a good player and a good student. We did our research on him and found out he's a good person. He came down here and visited and loved Oklahoma State and loved Stillwater and we ended up signing him."

Gundy said last season's success got him into homes that he might not have been able to crack earlier in his coaching career with the Cowboys.

"When you stay ranked in the top 25 and you're on the ESPN scroll and you're playing on national TV a lot, people see you," Gundy said. "That exposure is worth a lot of money. It's worth a lot to your future and recruiting and even enrollment at the university. And he's an example of what could happen."

Oklahoma State traditionally recruits mainly in Oklahoma and Texas. But the Cowboys lured recruits from eight different states in their incoming class, including Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Virginia as well as Oklahoma and Texas.

The Cowboys did especially well in Oklahoma where they picked off seven recruits. It was their most Oklahoma recruits since 2003.

"We were very excited about signing a big number for us in the state of Oklahoma," Gundy said. "We feel like high school football in the state of Oklahoma was very good. And the number of players we were able to recruit, sign and bring into our program made us happy as a coaching staff. We're excited about those guys."

The 23-member class is headed by running back Dexter Pratt of Navasota, Texas. Pratt, a bruising 225-pound tailback who has already entered school this semester, was ranked 138th among the ESPNU 150 and was Scouts Inc.'s 15th-best running back in the nation.