Austin Box remembered by former OU teammates as ‘a lot of fun,' ‘someone you could trust'

BY JAKE TROTTER Staff Writer jtrotter@opubco.com Published: May 21, 2011

“Box was a great kid. He kept the energy alive in the meeting rooms, on the field, off the field; he never complained to Coach V about playing time. He wanted his teammates to do good.

“It's really hard to see him go.”

‘Someone you could go to war with'

Box's football career was defined by injuries. But also overcoming them.

Heading into his redshirt freshman season in 2008, Box was the presumptive starter at outside linebacker. But days before the Sooners' opener, he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery, opening the way for Travis Lewis to take his job.

The same season, Box re-emerged in the starting lineup at middle linebacker after starter Ryan Reynolds was lost for the season to injury. But in the regular-season finale at Oklahoma State, Box suffered a sprained knee that knocked him out of the lineup again.

In 2009, Box dealt with elbow and knee injuries that ultimately kept him out of two games. And in 2010, a preseason disc issue in his back forced him to sit the first five games of the year.

But once again, Box fought his way back onto the field, even though the injury was first believed to be career-ending.

By Game 10, he had regained his status as a starter and proved to be crucial to OU's five-game winning streak to close the season.

At Oklahoma State, he made a diving interception in the fourth quarter that helped seal OU's 47-41 Bedlam victory. Then in the Fiesta Bowl, he set the tone by stuffing running back Robbie Frey behind the line on fourth-and-1 on Connecticut's second possession.

“My memory of Box is that he gave it his all,” said the Carolina Panthers' Nic Harris, who was Box's Sooner teammate from 2007-08. “He put it on the line. You knew he was going to do whatever it took. You knew he was someone you could trust.

“Someone you could go to war with.”


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