On Saturday afternoon Oklahoma State picked up their 13th commitment so far this year.  This is quickly becoming one of Mike Gundy’s best classes ever assembled. With the addition of Jarrick Bernard the riches keep piling up.  Bernard fits the typical mold for an OSU commit.  Underrated.  Under-recruited.  Long and Athletic, with huge upside.  If there were one word to describe him, it would be ballhawk.  He makes the sixth safety commit in the last two cycles as Glenn Spencer looks for a deep secondary to keep up with the furious Big-12 passing attack.

Bernard is ranked as a three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com, while being completely ignored by ESPN and 247.  A good bet on the reason for this is where he comes from.  Bernard is currently attending Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Louisiana is known for their football players, but those that attend private schools typically have less exposure.  To add to that, it’s only a 2-A private school.  Thats about the lowest amount of exposure a recruit can get.  It’s also why he’s a prototypical Gundy recruit.

In his tape posted to hudl.com (linked below), it is very apparent he a has a nose for the ball.  While 2-A quarterbacks aren’t exactly known for their ability to look-off safeties, he has an uncanny ability to read the quarterbacks eyes and make a play on the ball.  Furthermore, he doesn’t neglect his coverage while doing so.  He can stay locked in on a receiver and as the ball is leaving the QB’s hand, jump off his coverage and take the ball off another route.  Some really impressive stuff from a high-school sophomore/junior.

He’s listed as a strong safety/corner back but to my eye projects much more as a free safety.  Already at 6’2″ and 200 pounds, he sounds like a prototypical strong safety but that is not the position in which he is the most talented.  With his ability to read a quarterback’s eyes and a penchant for laying the wood on anyone who dares to cross the middle of his field, he projects out to be something of Tre Flowers clone, except with better eyes and worse coverage skills.  If he ever takes a rep at cornerback I’ll be very disappointed with Glenn Spencer.  Or maybe very impressed with the player development coaches.

While he has quick reactions on balls thrown his way, he can’t even stay in the pocket of a receiver at that level.  I don’t see that changing when the competition increases substantially.  Another knock on him that can typically be ironed out is his seeming inability to drive through and finish tackles.  He isn’t afraid to hit, enjoys it actually, but still has to learn to finish tackles in order to be successful at the next level.

Where his true value lies beyond his ball-hawking ability is his versatility.  With an already filled-out body and tremendous athleticism, he should be able to play a couple positions.  Namely, he should see time at star-linebacker, free-safety and strong-safety until he cements a starting role at one of those spots.  He has some rough edges to smooth but with his athleticism at a good size he seems like a diamond in the rough.  Right now however, he looks to be a sure thing in zone-coverage.  All that’s left now is to see if he can improve his man coverage skills in his senior year and becoming a blue-chip prospect.

Check out his highlights here:



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