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From walk-on to starter, OSU's Ward having a blast
In it for the fun of it

by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 15, 2008 at 10:53 am •  Published: September 15, 2008
STILLWATER — The skies were dreary, the clouds heavy, the rains steady.

A perfect day for football.

Every Saturday is perfect for Bryant Ward.

His name is likely unfamiliar to even the most diehard college football fan. The same goes for his story, how he went from longtime Stillwater kid and Oklahoma State fan to Cowboy walk-on and OSU starter.

Yes, Ward starts for the Cowboys.

And on Saturday when the weather was lousy and the opponent was even worse, the fullback provided some perspective about college football. The guy playing perhaps one of the most unglamorous position of them all offered a bit of sunshine.

No matter what — whether sun or rain, instant classics or blowouts — this game is fun.

"I just came here to play football,” Ward said with a shrug, "so I'm not worried about a lot of stuff.”

Good thing. His job is blocking defenders who are bigger and faster and stronger than he is so that Zac Robinson can complete passes and Kendall Hunter can score touchdowns. They get the good stuff, and he gets the grunt work.

Ward isn't even a scholarship player.

"Bryant's a glue guy,” Cowboy co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said after OSU defeated Missouri State 57-13. "He keeps everything going, and he doesn't get a lot of glory.”

So, why do it?

Since Ward started playing football in fifth grade, he talked about playing in college. It wasn't a maybe. It wasn't a possibility.

It was a sure thing.

"Bryant's always been a very determined individual,” his father, Kemp, said. "He's really confident.”

But because of an injury during his junior season at Stillwater High, recruiters knew little of Ward. Then, the Cowboy coaches called and asked him to walk on.

There was just one hang-up — they wanted him to play fullback even though he'd only played tailback and linebacker in high school.

"I didn't have a lot of experience blocking ...

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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It hasn't taken Bryant Ward long to make an impact with Oklahoma State. BY MATT STRASEN, THE OKLAHOMAN


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