From outside of the program, there might have been less expected of Austin Hays than any incoming freshman at Oklahoma State last season. Hays, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound receiver from San Antonio, received the last scholarship offer in the 2013 recruiting class, only after another player decommitted.
But he found his way onto the field and ended the year with 29 catches for 394 yards and two touchdowns.
Q: What was last year like for you, from the last-minute scholarship to earning some valuable playing time?
A: It was awesome, and obviously a great experience for me. I was offered on signing day. Coach (Todd) Monken called me in the middle of the day, faxed over the letter of intent. I signed it and sent it back. I talked to coach (Kasey) Dunn over the summer, worked out and learned the offense. Then two-a-days started. I just wanted to work hard, learn the plays, catch the ball and just be somebody they could count on. With Tracy Moore getting hurt, they needed somebody to step up, and I was glad I could fill a spot and get some experience.
Did you come in with a chip on your shoulder, thinking you needed to prove yourself?
I don't think I had a chip on my shoulder, but I definitely wanted to come in and work hard. I just wanted to fit in and work hard and find my way. And I think I did.
Where do you think you would have gone to school if that offer hadn't come on signing day?
Honestly, I really don't know. I had a couple baseball offers that I was really considering. I wasn't going to sign on signing day with the offers I had. I was still 50-50 football or baseball. I had baseball offers from OSU, Texas State and a couple other places that said they'd offer if I decided I wanted to play baseball. But I always told them football was No. 1. It just didn't happen for me until the very end.