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. "His family and him are big OSU fans,” Koons said. "It was tough. I think they were a little insulted OSU wasn't really interested when Kansas State and other schools were in on him from the start.” Bassett decided to take an unofficial visit to OSU. He had attended five or six games over the years. He had been on campus many times. But this trip to Stillwater had so much riding on it. "After getting to know them, there are great people at OSU,” Bassett said. "It took no time to build relationships with those guys and the coaches. After that it was a no-brainer. OSU all the way.” OSU coaches might look back and wonder why they didn't offer Bassett from the beginning. Rivals national football recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree said Bassett is one of the hidden gems of OSU's 2008 class. "This kid is the ultimate steal,” Crabtree said. "He went under the radar because he had been committed to Kansas State for a long time. A lot of people don't realize potentially how good this kid could be.” Bassett, 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, compiled better statistics as a defensive end than a tight end. He finished his senior season with nearly as many sacks (10) as receptions (16). Koons stresses that Tuttle didn't throw the ball much. He said Bassett has proven he can be an effective blocker. "When you look at his physique he looks like a Greek god,” Koons said. "He has unlimited potential. He can drive people (blocking) and he caught it every time we threw it to him. He's always been a gentle giant, a four-year starter who improved every year.” Bassett will report to Stillwater in July. With Pettigrew returning for his senior year and Wilson Youman waiting in the wings, Bassett might redshirt. It could come down to Bassett and Horton competing for a roster spot. "I will be a little punk freshman,” Bassett said. "But I'll work my (tail) off and get whatever I can get. I'm looking forward to it. Whether I play right away or have to wait, I'll be an OSU Cowboy. No matter what happens it will be good.”Comments
•School: Tuttle •Position: Tight end •Height and weight: 6-5, 235 •Statistics: 46 catches, 641 yards, 11 touchdowns his final two seasons. •Noteable: Bassett was a two-way starter, recording 60 tackles and 10 sacks as a defensive end. •Getting ready for signing day? Check out NewsOK.com for updates throughout the day.