STILLWATER — Quinn Sharp's career as a Cowboy is mostly defined by four major measurements.
Long field goals.
As crazy as it may sound for a two-time All-American, defending Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year and candidate for the Lou Groza Award, the hair is possibly becoming more of a Sharp signature than his leg.
“Sunshine from ‘Remember the Titans,'” said Oklahoma State linebacker Shaun Lewis. “It's kind of his look now. I can't even remember the last time he didn't have it.
“The hair hanging out of the helmet, the nice cleats, it's his style. It's his mark.”
Sharp's flowing mane certainly has everyone's attention. The reddish-brown locks seem to have a “watch list” of their own.
“His hair is ridiculously long,” said OSU offensive lineman Lane Taylor. “Before, it was long hair. Now it's going down his back.”
Mind you, nobody's complaining. They're just sayin'.
And, yes, Sharp hears about it, even in the locker room.
“They fluff it when they walk by me, stuff like that,” Sharp said. “It's all in good fun.”
And Taylor's right, Sharp's hair does keep growing, extending further than ever before — with purpose.
While he's preferred the long look for some time, Sharp now has designs of doing something good with his mop, perhaps to a charity like Locks of Love, benefiting disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
“I'll probably end up donating it,” he said. “I got to a certain point with it, and it was either cut it or leave it. I've decided to stay with it. I figured I could donate it and put it to a good cause.”
Sharp said he had long hair back in high school at Summit High in Mansfield, Texas, then cut it during the summer before his senior year while playing baseball. He arrived at OSU with a crop top, before letting it go again.
Now it goes and goes and …
“It's really never been in between, I've either had a buzz cut or long hair,” Sharp said. “I don't think it looks bad. Other people can say what they want.”
The major talking points concerning Sharp remain his kicking.
His career average of 45.75 leads all active punters. After leading the country the last three years, he's produced 57 touchbacks on kickoffs. Sharp ranks fifth nationally in scoring at 11.9 points per game, leads the country with 2.22 made field goals per game and is riding a streak of 14 consecutive made attempts.
Sharp has 66 career punts in excess of 50 yards and 17 that have traveled 60 yards or more, including a 74-yarder in Saturday's win over West Virginia.
With numbers like that, he could probably color his hair in rainbow stripes and no one at OSU would mind.
“If he's like Samson, then I want to tell him to never cut his hair, so he doesn't lose the leg,” said Cowboys defensive end Cooper Bassett. “If his long locks have given him the ability to kick the way it has, by all means, keep growing it out.”
Sharp will continue growing it, at least until it comes time to cut it for charity.
Besides, he's a little finicky about who he allows to trim it.
“I have a hairdresser back home I use through my mom's lady,” Sharp said. “I guess I don't trust anybody else to cut it. I mostly go to her every time.”
Hairdresser — now there's a term you don't hear football players reference every day.
“I would say I have someone who cuts my hair,” Bassett said with a wince. “I would never say I have a hairdresser or stylist or anything like that. I'll never forget, in high school, my mom called in and scheduled me a hair appointment. Her boss teased me and he said, ‘Cooper, boys don't get hair appointments, they get haircuts.'
“So that was my masculine lesson in hair. I would never call anyone my stylist or hairdresser.”
Like Sharp said, the ribbing is all in fun.
A senior who will make his final appearance at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday, Sharp is arguably OSU's most valuable player. Losing him is like losing three starters, with all his roles and his dominance in each one.
Mike Gundy will miss him for sure. And the long locks, too.
Seems Sharp's hair has overtaken Gundy's gelled-up look as the team's most talked-about coiffure.
“I hope so,” Gundy said. “I watched the replay of (Saturday's) game and there were I don't know how many shots of him when he's walking off, flipping his hair. I'm thinking, ‘Gollee.'
“And then he had the punt that got blocked — which wasn't his fault — and he's mad and upset about that and throwing his hair back.”
And, as Bassett said, that's OK.
“If it helps the guy kick …” Bassett said. “His hair has kind of taken a life of its own, a persona. People identify the long hair with Quinn.”