Summer is the time of hope and wonder for all college athletic departments across the country, and that’s no different in Stillwater.
There is a lot to be excited about regarding Oklahoma State sports for the 2021-22 school year, and I’d like to point out at least a few. Kyle Cox laid out his five storylines to track a few weeks ago. Here is my crack at it.
1. The Sauce Show
The world got a taste of what an Avery Anderson-led OSU basketball team would look like in the 2020-21 season, but what will it look like for an entire season?
Without Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likekele, the Cowboys went to Morgantown in March and upset No. 5 West Virginia thanks to Anderson pouring in 31 points on a ridiculous 11-for-14 (79%) shooting performance.
There are a lot of fun pieces around Anderson: Kalib Boone, a healthy Isaac Likekele, Bryce Williams, Bryce Thompson, and Rondel Walker and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe being a year wiser. But here in June, it feels as if Anderson will be the focal point of the Cowboys’ 2021-22 campaign.
It should be a treat for OSU fans, as there aren’t many players in the country as fun to watch as Anderson.
2. Star in the Slot
It has been a while since OSU’s premier pass-catcher was a slot receiver, but that could be the case in 2021 — Brennan Presley.
With Tylan Wallace in the NFL, the Cowboys are going to have to figure out a new way to move the ball after three years of Wallace domination. Presley certainty made his case to fill those shoes with his three-touchdown performance in the Cheez-It Bowl.
When was the last time OSU’s go-to receiver was a slot guy? Josh Stewart?
This could be an overreaction to Presley’s one big game, but he garnered plenty of praise throughout the spring, but so did Tay Martin, who will fill Wallace’s spot on the outside.
It’ll be interesting to see what Mike Gundy and Kasey Dunn can draw up to get slot receivers more involved.
3. On the Road (In the Air) Again
COVID kept Mike Boynton recruiting only in Stillwater last year, but Friday morning, OSU’s basketball coach put out patented “Js on a plane” tweet.
Boynton’s 2022 class has the chance to be a big one, even for his standards.
Keyonte George (No. 6 in the class) has OSU in his Top 5. MJ Rice (No. 18 in the class) has taken a visit. Pop Isaacs (No. 31 in the class) has already taken a visit to Stillwater and raved about it. Anthony Black (No. 61 in the class) has taken a visit. Aidan Shaw (No. 79 in the class) has taken a visit and spoke highly of OSU.
That’s a lot of quality that Boynton is after, and all of that happened before Boynton was able to get on the road again. Now that he is back out there flexing his Jordan 11s, who knows what can happen?
4. Give Gundy His Recruiting Due
There has been reason to be critical of Mike Gundy’s recruiting in the past, but he and his staff have done an excellent job the past few cycles.
Gundy is off to an excellent start in the 2022 cycle, and all the visits this month have seemingly only solidified that.
OSU already has a pair of four-star tailbacks committed, a highly touted quarterback, a fast-rising 6-foot-3 corner and Braylin Presley, who might be one of the most electrifying players to come out of the state since Sterling Shepard.
A lot of programs had to reevaluate how to do things when COVID shutdown visits and in-person scouting, but OSU’s staff seemed to thrive in that chaos and deserve credit for it.
Name, image and likeness stuff is going to change college sports forever, and for the first few years of this new era we’re entering, it might look like the Wild West.
I’ll start this in saying I’m in favor of college athletes being able to make money off NIL. But all the policing and unintended consequences that happen because of this is going to be overwhelming for a while.
If you’re into some good ole fashion TV drama, sit back and enjoy the show.
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