Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey is already a contender for the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award.
He's excelling in the classroom, too.
Lavey on Thursday earned Capital One second-team Academic All-America honors, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Lavey has already earned his undergraduate degree in finance and is working toward his MBA. He has been an Academic All-Big 12 selection the past three seasons.
Requirements for Academic All-America consideration include being a starter or key reserve, maintaining a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, reaching sophomore athletic and academic standing and being nominated by the school's sports information director.
Lavey leads the Cowboys in tackles (82) and tackles for loss (12) so far this season and has also picked up four interceptions, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup.
SPENCER PART OF BIG RIVALRIES
Cowboy defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was part of a big-time college football rivalry long before coming to OSU, as he played in the annual Georgia-Georgia Tech game as a defensive tackle for the Yellow Jackets in the 1980s.
What can he recall from those games? Beating Georgia in Athens as a junior in 1984, then winning again in Atlanta the next year as a senior.
“Good memories,” Spencer said. “Those stick with you.”
So while Spencer stressed that nothing changes this week in regards to preparation for Bedlam, he understands those rivalry games provide a little something extra.
“As a player, it feels different,” he said. “You always talk about, ‘What's your edge?' Trying to keep an edge for the game, trying to keep an edge to practice that week. With rivalry games, it's really (easy), because of the fan bases that come into play and what (players are) hearing, especially now with social media every day through their Twitters and through the media.
“I think it just helps them keep an edge to realize it is another game — it's the most important game because it's the next one — but the fan base makes it a little more exciting, I think.”
BEDLAM 2012 LED TO DEFENSE SWITCH? NOT SO FAST
The OSU defense has held up to its promise to play a more aggressive style of defense in Spencer's first season, leading the Big 12 in scoring defense (18.8 points per game) and rushing defense (130 yards per game) and ranking eighth in the nation in takeaways (29) and tied for fourth in interceptions (19).
Perhaps last year's Bedlam provided the biggest example that a philosophical switch was necessary. Former Sooner quarterback Landry Jones passed for 500 yards in OU's 51-48 overtime win, while the Cowboy defensive backs continuously played soft coverage.
Yet Spencer insists that's not the case.
“Don't want to revisit,” Spencer said. “That was a different team. This is a different team, so I really haven't (thought about it).”
Gundy on concerns of the focus of the Cowboys following a big win against Baylor and a bye week over Thanksgiving: “Coaching is like parenting — you worry every day. You give your 16-year-old a set of car keys and hope that he follows the rules and he doesn't text while he's driving and that he'll be safe. In dealing with these young men, it's the same for us as coaches. We have really good team chemistry. We have good leadership. I think they understand what's really important in this game.”