Van Malone admits he's not always fired up when a potential transfer calls, such as when former Kansas cornerback Tyler Patmon expressed interest in playing his final season of eligibility at Oklahoma State.
“You never want to get somebody else's trash,” the Cowboy cornerbacks coach said. “You never want to get a guy who's disgruntled and who's just running away from discipline. But that clearly, with (Patmon), is not the case.
“From the point that we met him, it's been a positive experience.”
Patmon, who was a three-year starter for the Jayhawks, left the program after the 2012 season when it became clear he was not meshing well with new coach Charlie Weis and his staff. Still, Patmon was on track to graduate from KU in the spring, meaning he could transfer and play right away.
This fall, he's expected to challenge for the starting spot opposite senior Justin Gilbert.
Patmon tallied 142 tackles (11.5 for loss), 22 pass breakups and six interceptions during what could be categorized as an up-and-down career at KU. But his Big 12 experience — he has matched up against Justin Blackmon and Ryan Broyles and several other of the league's best receivers in recent years — is a clear asset to a cornerback group that returns just four scholarship players in Gilbert and sophomores Kevin Peterson, Ashton Lampkin and Miketavius Jones.
“Has he been an All-Big 12 guy? No,” Malone said. “Well, we're kind of not looking for that. We need some depth.”
Still, the Cowboys will also need help from their group of incoming freshmen at the position. Malone said that Jerel Morrow, a four-star “athlete” prospect, already physically looks the part, while Darius Curry and Taylor Lewis will also get an early look in camp.
“With the cornerback position,” Malone said, “especially when you're doing it the way we're doing it — we're aggressive and we're pressing and we're playing man-to-man — those guys can go down (with an injury) just like that. You've got to know what you're putting in there.
“Fall camp is going to be important for all three of those guys, because we're going to make a decision really quickly as to who can go out and help and who we're possibly going to be looking to redshirt.”
JOSH STEWART IMPRESSED WITH FRESHMAN CLASS
Oklahoma State's incoming freshman class — which includes a pair of four-star receivers in Marcell Ateman and Ra'Shaad Samples — has already made a positive impression on returning All-Big 12 receiver Josh Stewart, who said the group has the potential to be the one of the best recruiting classes to ever come through OSU.
But some of them came into summer workouts acting like it.
Enter the veterans, who quickly gave the youngsters a serious talk.
“They kind of had a little ego to them walking in at first,” Stewart said. “So we had to, like, level it out and (say) ‘Get on board' and let them know you've got to work hard and it ain't just gonna come.”
Sounds like the meeting worked. Stewart said he's already formed a bond with Samples, a speedster who reportedly clocked a 4.32 in the 40-yard dash during early testing.
“He comes up to me and asks me questions,” Stewart said. “He's really trying to (model) his game after me, like really learn more. So I see, as a person, I've got to step up and be vocal and set a good example, now that they actually want to listen and do some of the things that I do.
“I've got to see that I do a good job of leading them in the right way.”
YURCICH: FEELING ENTERING CAMP THE SAME
New offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said he's had the same feelings of anxiousness and excitement before every football season begins, whether it was while playing in youth leagues in Ohio or while coordinating the offense now at OSU.
He highlighted the opportunity to see the players again as a reason for excitement, since coaches have limited contact during the summer months.
But Yurcich can take comfort in knowing the Cowboys have been taking part in a structured offseason workout program. That wasn't always the case at his old program, Division II's Shippensburg University.
“Most of the time in Division II, your guys have to go home and stay with Mom and Dad, because that's free rent, and get jobs and that sort of thing,” he said. “A lot of times there's no contact face-to-face. You didn't see them. You didn't run into them at the Wal-Mart or anything like that.”