After asking coach Mike Gundy if he could return to the team, Staley has returned with renewed confidence this spring.
“I feel way more confident than I did at the beginning,” Staley said. “When I first started coming back, I was so worried about my knee and I was running kind of hesitant.
“Now it's like there was no knee injury, I'm free to do what I've been able to do.”
And his renewed confidence in his health and ability has been noticed.
“I'm really encouraged by what he's done,” Gundy said. “I hope he can continue to stay healthy.”
Staley has been so impressive this spring that he could be carving himself a role as the third running back in the Cowboys offense this fall.
“His attitude has been tremendous, and he's been productive through six practices,” Gundy said. “We all have a strong belief in him, but I don't know that anyone really thought he could do it... but so far he is.”
Replacing Kendall Hunter Replacing Kendall Hunter won't be an easy task for Oklahoma State. Here is a look at the running backs battling to replace Hunter this spring: Joseph Randle, 6-1, 191, Soph., Wichita, Kan. Dynamic and versatile, Randle will be a big part of OSU's offense in 2011. Jeremy Smith, 5-10, 202, Soph., Tulsa Union) Very quick with excellent feet and toughness. Smith excels in short yardage but is a very solid overall running back. Kye Staley, 5-10, 213, Jr., Guthrie (FB) After a year on the sideline, Staley has returned to the team and could make an impact. David Paulsen, 6-3, 250, Jr., Marietta, Ga. (FB) Faces a tough task replacing two-time All-Big 12 fullback Bryant Ward but Paulsen is a solid prospect. *Joe Aska, 5-10, 199, RFr., Edmond North With coaches looking to keep Smith and Randle healthy, Aska should get the opportunity to make a mark this spring. *Grant Goodwin, 5-8, 204, So., Jenks In the same situation as Aska, Goodwin will get the chance to impress this spring. Note: True freshmen Herschel Sims and Desmond Roland will enter the competition this summer and could earn time in OSU's offensive backfield. * Denotes a walk-on