STILLWATER — Still seeking a kick-start to his career, Hubert Anyiam found himself a sudden focal point as Oklahoma State headed for Texas A&M a year ago.
Dez Bryant had just been suspended. Teammates, coaches, even friends were challenging Anyiam — who had three catches through four games — to step into the spotlight and deliver on the promise that accompanied him to Stillwater as a PrepStar All-American out of Garland, Texas.
"There was all this Dez talk," said Anyiam, a junior wide receiver. "I had people asking me, even telling me, 'You've got to step up.'' "
Maybe all Anyiam needed was a shove, as he came through with a breakout performance, catching three passes for 58 yards, including a 27-yarder for his first career touchdown, and scampering 13 yards for a first down on an end around in OSU's 36-31 win.
Now a year later, just in time for another critical clash with A&M, Anyiam's getting another shove, this time from himself.
Anyiam followed his big day in College Station with five more productive games, yet faded down the stretch as the Cowboys collapsed offensively. Things only worsened in the spring, when Anyiam suffered an injury to his foot that required surgery, wrecking his offseason workout plans and hindering his progress.
Until now? That's the hope, after Anyiam resurfaced with two touchdowns in OSU's rout of Tulsa.
While the Cowboys offense has been humming along, piling up yards and points, the quality of competition takes a significant uptick tonight. A healthy Anyiam offers another significant weapon, another deep threat and a potential deterrent, just in case the Aggies consider ganging up on Justin Blackmon, the nation's leading receiver.
"Hubert's looking back to normal," Blackmon said. "He's got the talent to do whatever he desires to do in this offense. He's a playmaker, when he gets the ball in space, he can make a lot of people miss and make a lot of plays."
Blackmon is enjoying a breakout of his own, yet it was Anyiam who topped the Cowboys receiving chart in 2009, finishing with 42 catches, 515 yards and three touchdowns.