The Oklahoma State Cowboys can score with just about any team in the country. The Cowboys ranked 3rd in both scoring offense and total offense last season, making the team’s 8-5 finish a disappointment for head coach Mike Gundy.
Where the offense was stellar in 2012, the defense was lackluster, giving up 421 yards (80th) and 28 points (64th) per game. The defense’s poor play was magnified by the offense’s good play in 2012: the Cowboys scored 30+ points in all five losses.
The Cowboys lost the Oklahoma game by a final score of 48-51. Scoring 48 points and losing never feels good.
But the Cowboys hope that their 2013 recruiting class will give them a boost on defense, especially up front. The game begins with the lines on both sides of the ball, and the defensive line that Oklahoma State has coming in is one of the best of the ’13 class.
The Cowboys’ front four of the future includes defensive ends Sam Wren and Naim Mustafaa as well as defensive tackles Vincent Taylor and Ben Hughes. These four star recruits may not make an impact right away, but they could all have very good careers at OSU.
Of the four, I like Mustafaa and Hughes the best. Both Wren and Taylor can be good players, but need to work on some things first. Wren is a great pass-rusher, but struggles in run support while Taylor is still a bit too small to play DT at the collegiate level at 267 pounds. With some hard work on the practice field and in the weight room, these guys can be solid players, but Mustafaa and Hughes are more ready right now.
Mustafaa is solid as both a pass-rusher and run-stopper, and has good size at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds. He’s still raw, but could develop into a very good player for the Cowboys. Hughes is a monster of a high school kid at 6-foot-2, 310 pounds, and can move well for a big guy. He isn’t what I’d call fast, but he can get after the quarterback better than most recruits his size.
The points are being put on the board in Stillwater. With a defense that can slow down their opponent, the Cowboys can contend for a Big 12 Title, and this recruiting class is a step in the right direction.
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