Week 3 was the most crucial for Kai Callins.
Following a devastating knee injury that cost the Guthrie star his junior season, the realization of how healthy he truly was set in during the Bleujays' 36-16 win at Enid with 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns alongside two interceptions.
It also served notice to the rest of the state that Callins was back.
“After the Enid game in Week 3, they kind of shied away from my side, which didn't really allow much opportunity for me,” Callins said. “But the opportunity I got I was trying to turn the ball the other way.”
He certainly created turnovers, intercepting seven passes to set the tone as one of the top defensive backs in the state and cement his spot as The Oklahoman's Big All-City Defensive Player of the Year.
“I felt like I had an incredible season,” Callins said. “I didn't expect to have that kind of season, especially picks-wise. I know tackles was kind of an all-time low, but picks-wise I couldn't ask for a better season.”
Callins had just 18 tackles, well below his previous average of 48 tackles per season. That, however, was a product of him being a lockdown cornerback.
Team rarely attempted to throw near Callins, and when they did plays like his one-handed interception on a post route in the semifinals against Collinsville happened.
“He's as good of defensive back we've had as far as coverage we've had come through here,” Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins said. “We've had some guys come up and tackle a little better, but as far as 1-on-1 coverage he's probably the best we've had.”
As good as Callins was on defense, he was equally as strong offensively.
He finished the season with 1,736 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns on the ground to set the school record in both categories. He also completely erased doubts about his knee by leading the Bluejays to the Class 5A title in a final dominant performance with four touchdowns and an interception against McAlester.
“A lot of People were doubting us, doubting our offensive line and doubting me,” Callins said. “They were saying I wasn't going to be able to cut again and be as good as I used to be. I took that to heart and worked as hard as I possibly could over the offseason. I wanted to show them that I could still play and I believe I performed better than I ever have this year.”
Still, Callins is waiting for that elusive Division I scholarship offer.
Following his Class 5A championship performance, Central Oklahoma, Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Southern Nazarene University all made offers.
But Callins' desire is to be a Division I running back, though some believe his opportunity will be a cornerback.
“He wants to play offense in college, but he's a dominant defensive player at corner,” Watkins said. “I really hope that there is one of those last-hour offers so he has a chance.”
Callins' decision is likely to come around National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
On that day, one more comeback story may be complete.