STILLWATER — Tyler Patmon could reflect and wonder what might have been, had he chosen Oklahoma State the first time.
More wins. More bowl games.
A Big 12 championship.
More fans. More fun.
And yet, why look back and risk soiling the rewards of this one special season as a Cowboy?
“Oh man, everything happens for a reason,” said Patmon, who started 32 games at Kansas, before taking advantage of the NCAA rule that allows graduate students with eligibility remaining to transfer and play immediately.
“Just to come here for one year and to experience this is a great blessing. I can't knock anything I've been through. It's made me the person I am today.”
Patmon certainly won't knock a few more required practices. For the first time in his career, he's bound for a bowl game as a key cog in the OSU secondary.
While at KU, the Jayhawks regressed, going from three wins in 2010, to two in 2011 to one a year ago. So this season has not only delivered more wins than his three seasons as a Jayhawk combined, it's produced a postseason payoff that he's soaking in for all that it offers.
“I'm going to love it. I'm loving it right now,” Patmon said, “just being able to get these extra practices in and spend time with my teammates.
“I can't wait to experience it all, just to be able to go to a bowl for the first time and the last time.”
That excitement is rubbing off, too, with other Cowboys gaining added appreciation for extended seasons they may have grown to take for granted.
OSU is making a school-record eighth straight bowl appearance.
“When I found out he'd never been to a bowl game, it shocked me,” said senior safety Daytawion Lowe. “I was like, ‘I've been blessed to go to these bowl games and he's never been.'
“That was always one of my goals, to make sure we got to a big bowl game so that he could have a good time. He came over and helped us out, now it's time to give back to him. And that's what this bowl game is for him.”
Because of restrictions put in place by coach Mike Gundy, OSU freshmen and first-year transfers are not permitted to talk to the media. But Gundy recently lifted the ban for Patmon, allowing him to share the joys of his season.
Arriving as a wild card to the Cowboys secondary mix, Patmon has played in every game and started five times, contributing 28 tackles and finishing second on the team with eight pass breakups.
Among the highlights:
* A 78-yard fumble return for a touchdown that put the Baylor game out of reach.
“Oh, it was great, to be able to run that far and not have anyone around. That's probably one of my biggest plays. The magnitude of that game and that play, they say, kind of finished them off. So that was definitely a highlight of my season.”
* Road wins at Texas and Texas Tech.
“Being in that locker room at Texas and having that feeling of excitement and everybody feeling like we'd done a good job, that was a great experience. After Texas Tech, to go into their place and them having so much hype and us coming out with a win was pretty special.”
* Beating Kansas.
“It was a game where you struggle with having so much excitement and trying to stay calm at the same time. You can't play out of control at corner, you'll get beat. I was able to stay calm and keep cool and treat it just like any other game. A couple of my old roommates texted me (that week) and of course we were talking a little bit. But at the end of the day, we talked after the game and congratulated each other.”
* An OSU welcome.
“The guys in the secondary have treated me like family. It feels like I've been here for four years rather than one.”
When Patmon first approached Cowboys coaches to discuss the possibility of him transferring in, there was an initial hesitance.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said they went looking for red flags — discipline issues, bad relationships within the team … something amiss — yet discovered none.
Not only has he fit in, he's thrived as a Cowboy, gaining OSU's Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award at the team's season-ending banquet.
“I've told Tyler many times, I'm glad he took a chance on us and saw us as a place where he could finish his career on a good note,” Spencer said. “Hopefully, we've been as good for him as he's been good for us.”
The feeling is mutual.
And for Patmon, the one season will do.
“It's been a great experience,” Patmon said. “To come here and win the number of games we've won … everything I've experienced at Oklahoma State has been great.”