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Scouting OSU’s top 2023 signees

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Mike Gundy

Cowboys football coach Mike Gundy signed 17 recruits on Wednesday's early signing day including quarterback Zane Flores of Nebraska.

The Cowboys may have snuck away with some diamonds in the rough during the early signing period.

Dec. 21 marked the beginning of the early signing period, and the Cowboys locked up all of their commits. Between transfers and high school commits, the Cowboys have the No. 61 high school recruiting class, the No. 5 transfer class and the No. 38 overall recruiting class, according to 247Sports. Recruiting class rankings never meant much to coach Mike Gundy and Co. What does, is the development of those athletes, which OSU typically does a solid job of doing.

In honor of Wednesday's signing day, here's a closer look at OSU’s top-two signees on offense and defense. 

Quarterback Zane Flores

Flores’ ranking is a direct byproduct of the state he played high school football in. States like Nebraska carry stigmas about the talent level of high school athletes and services typically rank them lower than an athlete from California, Georgia or Florida. Ranking aside, Flores is an accomplished quarterback that made the Elite 11 finals over the summer.

Flores could make an immediate impact as he joins an extremely green quarterback room. He has all the intangibles that would fit in a Mason Rudolph or Taylor Cornelius type of scheme. He’s a real gunslinger with great zip on the ball. He has a good touch in regard to making back-shoulder throws and bombing opposing defenses over the top with a fade. He will likely need to gain more weight and arm strength before he becomes an efficient, reliable quarterback for the Cowboys.

Wide receiver Camron Heard

No matter where one looks, it’s hard to find a faster kid in the state of Texas than Heard. Heard is a tri-sport athlete, excelling in basketball, track and of course, football. Heard logged a 10.80 100-yard dash, which finished third in the Texas 4A Region III meet in April. Heard is an exceptional athlete that was utilized as a defensive back, quarterback, running back and receiver for Furr High School.

Heard is 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, but he plays bigger than his size. He’s a tough runner to bring down in the open field solely because he’s a twitchy ball carrier with speed. However, don’t count out his power as a ball carrier. He figures to be a slot receiver but could grow into a speedy outside receiver if he grows an inch or two.

Linebacker Kam Franklin

After a last-ditch effort by TCU to reel in Franklin, he’s officially signed to the Cowboys. Franklin fits the mold of what OSU likes to have at linebacker. At this point in his development, he has more of a safety frame than a linebacker frame, but it also could lead to him being a hybrid type of linebacker, somewhat like the Arizona Cardinals’ Isaiah Simmons.

Franklin is a thumper, despite his lankier frame and he carries his weight well as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker. Franklin will likely see a year or two of development, especially with the signees OSU received out of the portal at the linebacker spot.

Defensive lineman Jaedon Foreman

OSU has a good history of signing top talent out of Del City, and Foreman is just the latest on the list. Foreman is a prototypical interior defensive lineman that can shift outside on occasion. He’s got great ball-get-off skills and has a knack for tracking down ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. Foreman could grow into an even better run-stuffer and become one of OSU’s main nose guards. He does well coming off the edge, which is why he could end up on the edge at times.

Foreman is a great project defensive lineman that already has college size, he just needs to add college muscle. Foreman is an athletic 250 pounds and if he can maintain his athleticism while gaining good weight in the strength program, he could develop into one of those “goons” defensive coordinator Derek Mason wants on his defensive front.