STILLWATER — Cooper Bassett grew up wearing orange, but for a while this past year, his wardrobe turned purple.
A lifelong Oklahoma State fan, Bassett says he bleeds orange. But OSU's staff was lukewarm on the Tuttle tight end. The Cowboys didn't even invite him to junior day, so last April he committed to Kansas State.
Convinced he would wear purple, Bassett spent his senior season helping the Tigers reach the Class 3A semifinals. The plot thickened when OSU called in November, offering him a chance to live out his dream.
"Deep down in my heart I've always wanted to go to OSU,” Bassett said. "I had been dreaming about putting on orange since I was a little kid. But Kansas State had been with me from the start.”
After Bassett committed to K-State last spring, OSU was interested briefly during the summer. Bassett was told he had a week or two to change his commitment.
When Justin Horton, from Henderson, Texas, committed to OSU in late July, Bassett was informed the only tight end slot had been filled.
"That was sort of a pride thing,” Bassett said. "They hadn't invited me to junior day. Plus, I had built all these relationships with Kansas State players and their other commits. (OSU's offer) caught me off guard. I basically wasted too much time.”
Throughout the season Bassett could be seen wearing purple. His world turned upside down the first week of November, the first week of the high school playoffs. His father informed him OSU tight ends coach Doug Meacham called. The Cowboys were making an offer.
"It blew me away,” Bassett said. "Coach Meacham called and said, ‘Sorry, what happened the first time. We have an open slot and would like for you to fill it.' I was torn between two feelings.”
OSU's sudden interest was due to junior Justin Waller telling coaches he would graduate early and quit playing football. Paschal Smith was a senior. Brandon Pettigrew was contemplating declaring for the NFL Draft.
"At first I was like, ‘Wow, I might get to play at OSU,' ” Bassett said. "But then I was like, ‘I've already built some relationships at K-State.' I knew it would be the biggest decision of my life. I didn't want to throw K-State away with a flip of a hat.”
Tuttle coach Philip Koons recalled what happened the previous nine months before OSU's 11th hour interest.