It didn't take long for JayVeon Cardwell to feel what many other football recruits from Steele High School have felt at Oklahoma State. Stillwater was home and the 2018 prospect knew it immediately.
The three-star cornerback from Cibolo, Texas, committed to the Cowboys on Monday, picking them over offers from Colorado, Ole Miss and 15 other programs. Cardwell, who received the Oklahoma State offer in late April and visited last week, is the 17th commit in a class that 247Sports ranks third in the Big 12 and 14th nationally.
"I've visited many schools since February but none felt like this," Cardwell told HERO Sports. "It was family right from the time we got there. The academics are great, the facilities are awesome and the staff and players just welcomed me in."
The 5-foot-11, 174-pounder had 54 tackles, seven interceptions and seven passes defended as a junior last season. Assuming he signs in December or February, he'll join numerous Steele alums who've taken their talents 500 miles north to Stillwater. Linebacker Ryan Simmons and safety Jordan Sterns — 2011 and 2013 Steele graduates, respectively — recently played for Oklahoma State, and offensive lineman Deionte Neal — a 2014 graduate — is still on the roster. Non-Cowboys Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Malcolm Brown also attended Steele.
"It had very little influence," Cardwell of Steele alums playing at Oklahoma State, "but what I know is that they have all been successful with their education and football careers and that's what I am looking forward to for my future, sir."
Yes, the polite Cardwell said "sir" — repeatedly — and took time on his way to Miami Beach for vacation to speak with me.
Cardwell is in a text message group with other commits in the 2018 class, one that would be the highest-ranked class in program history, both in the Big 12 and nation. He lauded longtime head coach Mike Gundy and his staff's patience and calculations in recruiting.
"They take their time to find the best players for their program. I like how that is done."
Whatever Gundy is doing, it's clearly working. They're also chasing four-star offensive tackle Darrell Simpson from Justin, Texas, and four-star cornerback Jalen Green from Houston.