JENKS — Each Jenks player who signed Wednesday had a table in the lobby of the Frank Herald Gymnasium.
Most were decorated with the school colors of the college the athlete selected. Many had decorated cakes honoring the players for their decision.
Trent Taber didn't sign, at least officially, after deciding to forego scholarship opportunities elsewhere to walk on, but he still had his table decorated with the orange and black of Oklahoma State.
On one corner, behind the cake, was a black Oklahoma State helmet similar to the ones the Cowboys currently wear.
On the edge of the other side, hung a small orange OSU jersey with “Taber” written in marker above the numbers on the back.
When he was about 2 years old, Taber wore the jersey nearly every day.
“I can't tell you how many times I put it through the wash,” Taber's mom, Shea Taber, said.
The fullback/linebacker had opportunities to play elsewhere. His academics and athletics could have landed him at an Ivy League school, Trojans coach Allan Trimble said.
But there was no doubt that Taber would wind up in Stillwater, where he's dreamed of going to school and playing football since he had his dad write his last name in marker on the back of that tiny jersey.
“That's my lifeline dream,” Taber said. “It's a dream come true. I was going to OSU, I just wasn't sure if I was going to play or not. I went up there a couple weekends ago and talked to coaches and I'm so excited.”
Trimble said Taber won't be a player who will go to Stillwater and be forgotten.
In introducing Taber at the ceremony, Trimble compared Taber to Rocky Calmus.
“I think Coach (Mike) Gundy understands the value of bringing in a leader and a guy that's real blue collar,” Trimble said. “I think football is kind of heading back to where a lot of offenses are going to utilize a fullback and a lead blocker — not all the time but some. I think Trent will be great.”