DEL CITY — Chazten Gonzales knows he's a Division I quarterback.
TCU coaches told him so when they offered him a scholarship in 2010, his senior season at Del City.
Gonzales never played at TCU or any other school, and now he's out to prove himself once again, this time as a walk-on at Oklahoma State, more than two years after his last competitive football game.
Gonzales' football dreams were derailed by two devastating blows in the summer of 2011.
First, he learned that he didn't have the proper credits to meet NCAA Clearinghouse requirements, so he couldn't qualify for Division I football. Not long after, his brother, Ryan, was killed in a car accident.
“They were more than brothers; they were best friends. They did everything together,” said their father, Frankie Gonzales. “It hit Chazten real hard.”
In July 2011, just a few weeks after his brother's death, Chazten joined the team at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. But after going through three weeks of summer workouts, Chazten decided NEO wasn't the place for him.
“I convinced him to go to Langston, because that's where I graduated from,” Frankie Gonzales said. “But while he was up there, his mind wasn't ready. He was still thinking about his brother all the time. He didn't even go to class.”
In a matter of days, Chazten left Langston and moved home to Del City, where he began taking classes at nearby Rose State Junior College.
At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Gonzales continued pushing himself in personal workouts with his father. He thought about giving football another try at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, joining the program in the summer of 2012.
Just like NEO the year before, he made it through summer workouts, but he still wasn't happy.
“When he came home, we had a long talk,” his father said. “You've been going to a lot of schools, and it seems like you're really not sure what you want.
“He told me, ‘Of all the schools I've looked at, I really want to go to OSU.'”
Chazten, who threw for 1,739 yards and rushed for 734 as a senior at Del City, learned what he needed to do to walk on. He began the process while continuing classes at Rose State. He completed 45 credit hours before enrolling at OSU in January. He's a sophomore in the classroom, but believes he'll still be classified as a freshman on the field.
“Now he's happy. This is where he wanted to be,” Frankie said. “This is where his heart was from the beginning.”
Chazten will take part in spring practice as one of several quarterbacks on the roster, along with Clint Chelf, Wes Lunt, J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman. Other walk-ons, Jase Chilcoat, Quinn Shanbour and Cody Peterson, are likely to be involved as well.
With his size and speed — Chazten says he's been timed at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash — he's willing to consider other positions as well. But for now, he wants to be a quarterback.
“I've been working hard, busting my butt to be ready,” he said. “I told them that quarterback is what I want to play. I feel like I can fit in the system, but if it doesn't work out, I'm willing to move to receiver or something. But my focus is quarterback.”
He has spent day after day the last two years working out and throwing passes at Del City's stadium or at a nearby elementary school, hoping to be prepared for his opportunity to play again.
Because this is about realizing a dream, not just for himself but for his brother as well.
“My family was raised around football. That's what me and my brother did together growing up. I know my brother would want me to do the thing that I love, and that's play football,” Chazten said.
“I feel like I can get that connection back with him by playing football. He'll be with me, and it's something we'll be doing together.”