Mike Gundy has had a great offseason, flirting briefly, again, with Tennessee and then becoming the Big 12's third $5 million coach. He got to hire a new defensive coordinator in Duke's Jim Knowles and was allowed to add a 10th coach and a bunch of new analysts.
All this after a massively disappointing 9-3 regular season and hum-drum trip to the Camping World Bowl. As last year's losses (all at home) piled up, Cowboy Nation often asked, "If not now, when?"
The answer to when OSU will win its next Big 12 title and get to the College Football Playoff may have to wait for another day. The Cowboys are ranked No. 20 in our Way-Too-Early Top 25 heading into spring practice and now Gundy must find a way to replace college football's most prolific passer in Mason Rudolph and the Biletnikoff Award winner in James Washington, among others.
MORE: Texas moves up rankings
Will a revamped roster on offense and an entirely new direction on defense derail Oklahoma State's chase for a championship? One thing is certain, these Cowboys have a lot of work ahead of them this offseason.
Here is a spring primer for the 2018 season:
Oklahoma State football schedule 2018
|April 28||Spring Game||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Sept. 1||Missouri State||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Sept. 8||South Alabama||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Sept. 15||Boise State||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Sept. 22||Texas Tech||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Sept. 29||at Kansas||Lawrence, Kan.|
|Oct. 6||Iowa State||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Oct. 13||Kansas State||Manhattan, Kan.|
|Oct. 27||vs. No. 22 Texas||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Nov. 3||at Baylor||Waco, Texas|
|Nov. 10||at No. 5 Oklahoma||Norman, Okla.|
|Nov. 17||West Virginia||Stillwater, Okla.|
|Nov. 24||vs. No. 18 TCU||Fort Worth, Texas|
|Dec. 1||Big 12 championship||Arlington, Texas|
Bold denotes Big 12 games
Oklahoma State football recruiting 2018
This year's class was ranked No. 33 by 247 Sports and has been regarded as the best of the Gundy era, with an OSU-record average player ranking of 86.52 (based on a scale of 100). WR C.J. Moore of Tulsa's Union High School is the highest-ranked prospect, but right below him, Sanders is the most exciting. Sanders passed for 10,329 yards and 124 TDs in his career and rushed for 3,659 and 48 TDs, including 3,845 and 54 TDs passing (with 7 INTs) and 1,380 and 16 rushing TDs as a senior.
Oklahoma State football roster 2018
The Oklahoma State football roster will be updated in the spring and fall here.
What to watch in 2018:
1. Who's the quarterback? Mason Rudolph led the nation in 2017 with 4,904 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes with 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His efficiency rating ranked third nationally. So with Rudolph off to the NFL, who gets the ball next? Former walk-on Taylor Cornelius is a senior and will get a look. So will dual-threat sophomore Keondre Wudtee. Massive Jelani Woods has moved to tight end. How important is this spring? The competition could come down to true freshman Spencer Sanders (Texas' Gatorade and AP Player of the Year and Mr. Texas Football) and Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown (a two-year starter for the Rainbow Warriors) — neither of whom gets to campus until summer.
2. Getting to know Knowles: Glenn Spencer poured his heart and soul into the OSU defense for five years as coordinator, emotionally invested in his players and living the agony and the ecstasy of winning or losing each week. But Gundy fired Spencer after his defenses ranked 53rd, 93rd, 100th, 92nd and 79th nationally. Enter Knowles, whose defenses in eight seasons at Duke frequently overachieved, including an overall rank of No. 21 last season. He'll also coach linebackers, but with 11 players gone from the Camping World Bowl two-deep — including starters DT DeQuinton Osborne, LB Chad Whitener, SS Ramon Richards and FS Tre Flowers — will Knowles adjust from the ACC to the wide-open Big 12?
3. Scales of Justice: The Cowboys' offense was gutted by the departures of Rudolph, Washington (74 catches, 1,549 yards, 13 TDs), Marcell Ateman (59-1,156-8) and Chris Lacy (20-264-0), but Jalen McCleskey (50-645-5), Dillon Stoner (44-576-6) and Tyron Johnson (18-293-3) are back. Most importantly, the Big 12's best running back, Justice Hill, returns for his junior season. After going for 1,142 yards and 6 TDs as a freshman, he added 1,467 and 15 TDs last year along with 31 receptions for 190 yards and a TD. He won't get much work during the spring, which means J.D. King (469 yards, 4 TDs) and L.D. Brown (223 yards, 3 TDs) will get plenty of reps to develop as complementary (and eventually replacement) backs when Hill leaves.