NCF On The Trail: Devon Thomas

Big 12 signing day storylines 

December, 17, 2013
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Consider the countdown a go.

With 50 days from national signing day, a lot of questions about star players have been answered. Some questions, however, are still left to be answered.

Here are 10 signing day storylines that could affect recruiting classes throughout the Big 12:


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Team in transition: Oklahoma State 

November, 26, 2013
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Editor's note: New coaches inherit a blank slate and often, an empty house. But new coaches who take positions at schools rocked by scandal face special challenges. Here's a look at how Oklahoma State is rebounding from that situation.

Potentially damaging controversy graced its presence on the campus of Oklahoma State in September after Sports Illustrated unveiled a five-part expose on the Cowboys and how they were able to quickly build success with the football program. The series included interviews with more than 60 former football players and staffers past and present.


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Hours after Sports Illustrated released a report on Tuesday alleging that former Oklahoma State players received improper funding from coaches and boosters, ESPN 300 running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) delivered welcome news to the Cowboys faithful.

“Pokes, ride or die,” Thomas said.


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Best Big 12 classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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There is still plenty of work for every Big 12 program to do before the completion of the 2014 recruiting cycle. But one can begin to at least paint an outline for how each class is going to look come February.

Here is a look at which Big 12 teams have the best 2014 recruiting class at each position.

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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

August, 23, 2013
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This week’s Big 12 recruiting mailbag takes a look at a recent Iowa State transfer, a few Oklahoma State topics and when the Longhorns’ 2014 class will start reflecting its “DBU” ways.

John Goorsky (Ames, Iowa): What are your thoughts about the recent addition of D'Vario Montgomery to the Cyclones?

William Wilkerson: I think it’s a very important pickup for Paul Rhoads and the future of the program. Montgomery should transfer seamlessly given his history with Cyclones starting quarterback Sam Richardson. The two were high school teammates in Winter Park, Fla., where Montgomery was a two-time all-state selection with 21 touchdown receptions as a junior and senior.

Not only will it benefit them immediately but it also helps give someone like ESPN 300 receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) more incentive not to look elsewhere. Just because Lazard is committed to ISU right now doesn’t mean schools are going to stop pursuing him. If anything they’ll come after him harder. Having Montgomery on board, as someone who could take some attention of Lazard in future packages, could entice Lazard to stay put.

Robert Thomas: What will Oklahoma State have to do to move into a top 25 class?

WW: Keep doing what they are doing and live up to the expectations that have been placed on them for the upcoming season. It’s really that simple. If the Cowboys win like they should, the recruits will come. They especially need to win the marquee matchups at home, when their sidelines should be packed with official visitors. Getting guys like ESPN 300 receivers Malachi Dupre and Cameron Sims on campus to see the renovations around the football facilities would be huge.

Mike Gundy has recruited well in-state so far, with the commitments of Devon Thomas and Gyasi Akem, the two Broken Arrow teammates. The Cowboys are still in the mix for four-star safety Steven Parker, as well. Getting a commitment from any three of these recruits would greatly increase their chances of finishing with a top 25 class.

@pt2479: How good can @RichardLagow be in this system?

WW: If the transfer quarterback from UConn is given the opportunity, I think he could be productive. He’s larger than most of the quarterbacks that have come through Mike Gundy’s system, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t be capable of moving the chains like others before him.

The Cowboys recruited him out of Plano (Texas) High School in 2013, so there must have been some inclination that he could work out in the system, even though a scholarship offer was never extended. He was actually going to be working in more of an up-tempo offense at UConn this season as the Huskies transition from a pro-style offense. But he’s going to have to beat out some stiff competition after he redshirts this season. Class of 2014 commitment Mason Rudolph (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) is the No. 7 pocket passer in the nation.

@1jaydub: When does Texas start focusing on DBs for 2014 to get back to DBU Football?

WW: Defensive back has been a focus of Texas’ coaching staff from the jump. They just haven’t gotten the commitments ... yet. They’ve got two commitments in four-star CB Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) and three-star safety Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie), a former Nebraska commit. But some big dominos are about to fall that will tell the tale.

John Bonney (Houston/Lamar) surprised Texas’ staff last weekend with a visit. He wants to commit somewhere before the season. ESPN 300 safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie), who has long had Texas No. 1, will decide sometime during the season after he takes some official visits. ESPN 300 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) will officially visit Texas this fall. And the Longhorns still feel like they are in the mix for ESPN 300 CB Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). If the Longhorns get any of these four they’ll feel much better about where things stand.

Trey Roberts says yes to Oklahoma State

May, 30, 2013
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The Big 12 Cowboys have added a commitment from Trey Roberts (Houston/Eisenhower), multiple sources report.

Roberts is a high school quarterback who could play in the defensive secondary or wide receiver at the next level.

SMU and Utah also extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot-1, 190-pound prospect. TCU, Texas and Texas Tech showed interest.

Following Roberts' decision, Oklahoma State's now holds four verbals for 2014. A pair of four-star Broken Arrow (Okla.) High School teammates, running back Devon Thomas and outside linebacker Gyasi Akeem, and three-star linebacker Justin Phillips (Pearland, Texas/Pearland) round out the Cowboys' class.
videoOklahoma State had 23 signees for its Class of 2013. As it got closer and closer to national signing day, it looked as if the Cowboys were going to have a whole class without an in-state player.

In the final days, OSU offered Tuttle (Okla.) High defensive end Dawson Bassett, the younger brother of former OSU defensive end Cooper Bassett. Dawson signed with the Cowboys.

We’re still eight months away from national signing day 2014, but OSU is putting in major work in trying to keep the top in-state names home this time around.

The Cowboys have three commits for the Class of 2014, and two of them are from the Sooner State. They’re not just two run-of-the-mill commits, either. Running back Devon Thomas and linebacker Gyasi Akem are four-star players and teammates at Broken Arrow High School.


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Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy wasn’t pleased with how the Cowboys attacked the Oklahoma high school scene for the Class of 2013.

He said it would change for the Class of 2014. Saturday was more proof of that as top in-state outside linebacker Gyasi Akem (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) confirmed in a text message that he committed to the Cowboys at the school's spring game.


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The Nike Football Training Camp series will continue outside of Dallas on Sunday. Athletes will trek to Allen, Texas, the home of one of the most impressive high school stadiums in the country. Allen Eagles Stadium, a $60-million facility, opened last year and featured nearly 22,000 fans watching Texas powers Allen and Southlake Carroll clash.

Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday.

Talented DBs aplenty

It’s been said on multiple occasions that the 2014 class may be one of the strongest in years at producing big-time defensive backs in the region. The battle for defensive back MVP has the potential of being extremely competitive with players such as Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt) expected to be in attendance. Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) has committed to LSU, while Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) and Armani Watts (Forney, Texas/North Forney) have pledged to Texas A&M. Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark), a 2015 prospect, has verbally committed to Alabama. All of the DBs will have their shots in one-on-one drills against equally talented ESPN Watch List receivers such as Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and Texas commit Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper).


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Oklahoma State gains LB Justin Phillips 

March, 18, 2013
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Junior prospect Justin Phillips (Pearland, Texas/Pearland) has become Oklahoma State's second Class of 2014 commitment, multiple sources report.

Baylor, Boise State, Colorado and Northwestern also extended scholarship offers to the 5-foot-11, 210-pound linebacker. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Southern Methodist were among the other programs showing interest.

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Weekly Commitment Roundup 

December, 21, 2012
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ACC
Clemson
Demarcus Robinson WR Fort Valley, Ga./Peach County
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Position Rank: #14 WR

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Watch List RB Thomas commits to OSU 

December, 15, 2012
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Class of 2014 ESPN Watch List running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) has just added fuel to the Bedlam fire.

[+] EnlargeDevon Thomas
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comClass of 2014 running back Devon Thomas decommitted from the Sooners earlier this week and now intends to go to Oklahoma State.
Thomas confirmed he committed to Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon. He originally committed to Oklahoma before announcing his decommitment from the Sooners on Monday.

“I talked to the coaches today, and it just feels right for me,” said Thomas, who is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. “I’ve been there several times the last two seasons. I believe OSU is the best place for me to succeed.”

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RB Devon Thomas decommits from OU 

December, 10, 2012
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ESPN Watch List running back Devon Thomas (Broken Arrow, Okla./Broken Arrow) said Monday night he has decommitted from the Sooners, saying it was a hasty decision to commit to OU last month.

[+] EnlargeDevon Thomas
Bob Przybylo/ESPN.comDevon Thomas is considered the best tailback in Oklahoma in the Class of 2014.
Oklahoma isn’t out of the picture for Thomas' services, but the Sooners aren’t the best fit, he said.

Thomas, who is 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, said he told OU coaches Cale Gundy and Bob Stoops on Sunday night. He said they weren’t happy about it, but they are hopeful Thomas might still end up a Sooner after he takes in more of the recruiting experience.

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Weekend Rewind: Oklahoma 

November, 26, 2012
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Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is called Bedlam, and it certainly was in OU’s 51-48 overtime victory against its in-state rival.

A thrilling win that led to a memorable atmosphere for in-state recruits who were in attendance.

“That was the best game I’ve seen in person,” said 2014 safety Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks), who has offers from both schools.

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Weekly Commitment Update 

November, 23, 2012
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ACC
Maryland
Demetri McGill DT Virginia Beach, VA, Ocean Lakes
HT: 6-0 WT: 290
Position Rank: #93 DT

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