NORMAN — Oklahoma's Kass Everett loves to make his father proud.
That's why the senior defensive back woke up Sunday morning and bought his dad a copy of The Oklahoman. Prominently displayed across the cover of the sports section was a photograph that captured Everett's impact on Oklahoma's win the night before: His helmet buried in West Virginia quarterback Paul Millard's back, a fumbled football hanging in the air and a defeated blocker's hand tugging on Everett's jersey from behind.
Everett's blindside blitz resulted in a forced fumble and the first sack of his OU career.
“For some time now, it's just been me and my dad,” Everett said. “Just getting a little opportunity to get on the field now is something that my dad is proud of. My birthday was on Friday, so he came out Saturday to come watch the game, and for me to make a play was definitely pleasing. He left around noon on Sunday and he had the paper.”
But Kasseim Berkley's biggest source of pride is the way his son fought his way back into college football after bad decisions cost him his first scholarship, forcing him to walk-on at a junior college and cram into a house with four times more residents than bedrooms.
“Football? I love it and I hope he does well,” Berkley said. “I'm glad about the newspaper. But being a responsible young man, being able to take care of yourself, being able to make good decisions … that's what I'm most proud of.”
Everett's college career began at the University of Delaware. He played some as a true freshman in 2009, but was suspended the entire next season for violating unspecified team rules.
Then in February 2011, Everett was arrested on suspicion of an “alcohol-related driving offense,” according to a local newspaper report, and dismissed from the team.
He considered quitting football, but decided to follow friend and fellow Philadelphia native Gerald Bowman — who now plays at USC — across the country to Pierce College in Los Angeles.
Taking the junior-college route can be humbling for any athlete with big dreams, but for Everett, he'd have to do it without a scholarship.
“I'm gonna tell you what, the determination I saw on his face when I put him on that plane, there was no doubt that he was gonna get another scholarship,” Berkley said.