“Gosh, opening kickoff, he was the guy you wanted to look at,” Young said. “He went blowing down the field, ran right through about two or three blockers and made the tackle.”
That type of play sold Young and Spencer. Elkins' back story sold OSU coach Mike Gundy.
“As soon as I found all that out, I already liked the kid,” Gundy said.
Elkins is still green in his first year in Stillwater, Spencer said. But his athletic ability, effort and instinct have continued to impress, helping him become a staple at the outside linebacker spot opposite Shaun Lewis.
That aggressive, almost reckless, style of play has shown throughout the season.
In the Cowboys' opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, he fought through a large pile to recover a fumble. Against Kansas State two weeks ago, he read an option play perfectly and clobbered Wildcat running back John Hubert following the pitch. He ranks third on the team with 59 tackles and has rapidly progressed throughout the season.
“He's kind of a lost art,” Gundy said. “The old-fashioned tough guy. (He'll) play hurt, run into you, tackle you (and he) doesn't run his mouth.”
Said OSU defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas: “He hasn't been in the game long enough to not have missed assignments, but when he does, he's flying 100 percent, so it makes up for everything.”
Because of OSU's policy that does not make first-year players available to the media, Elkins can't yet reflect on his brief, yet unique, football career that has brought him to OSU.
But Feldman said Elkins is an example of a “good junior college story” about a guy who was unsure about his future and used football to help him get to a Division I school.
And Spencer recognizes that Elkins appreciates the opportunity to play for OSU, which should only help him continue to grow.
“He doesn't feel like he's entitled,” Spencer said. “Every day he kind of comes in and has his lunch pail and his hard hat, and he just wants to go to work. He wants to be good, and he knows he's not as good as he can be.
“If he's hungry like that every day, he's got a great future ahead of him.”