BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
STILLWATER — David Glidden got a quick introduction to the physicality of college football.
It was an average run play during a practice his freshman year. His assignment? To block outside linebacker Alex Elkins, a full-throttle defender known for his ferocious instincts that stemmed from a background in rugby.
“He kind of threw me back a few yards,” the Oklahoma State receiver recalled. “I've had a few of those instances, but that was the first one.”
There's always an adjustment when a high-school football player makes the jump to college. But for Glidden, a 5-foot-7 slot receiver who frequently collides with much larger linebackers and safeties in the middle of the field, the change was perhaps even more jarring.
A byproduct? An array of injuries slowed Glidden's development during his first two years in the program. But now Glidden says he feels 100 percent, and reports from the spring indicate he's finally ready to be a steady contributor for a deep Cowboy receiving corps.
“Coming out in the spring, I felt like I had something to prove,” Glidden said, “just because I've been banged up the whole time I've been here, basically. The spring went well. I was excited to be given the opportunity again and (about) the fact that nobody had really given up on me and they saw the potential.”
Perhaps we could call Glidden's journey so far the “Josh Cooper Plan.” The former OSU slot receiver also battled multiple injuries during the early part of his career but then went on to finish ranked in the top 10 in school history in both receptions and receiving yards after thriving in the Cowboys' spread offense.
Not saying Glidden will reach those same heights. But he already shares many similarities with Cooper, from starring at the same high school to sporting a smaller frame to the injury troubles while playing an especially taxing position for somebody that size.
Glidden first had shoulder surgery as a freshman. Then he missed the end of spring football in 2012, along with all of fall camp and the first two games of the season because of nagging ankle and hamstring injuries. He did play in six games in 2012, spending time as the punt returner while recording his only catch on an 18-yard score against Baylor.
But clearly, Glidden needed to put on muscle, yet not so much that he would lose his quickness. He currently weighs 185 pounds, up 10-12 pounds from when he arrived in Stillwater. At one point during this past winter, he had gained 18 total pounds before slimming back down during the spring and summer months.
Now, he's standing out to teammates, even in a crowded receiving corps that includes veterans such as Tracy Moore and Josh Stewart and promising youngsters like Austin Hays, Jhajuan Seales and Brandon Sheperd. Linebacker Shaun Lewis called Glidden one of the toughest players to cover in practice, putting him in the same sentence as Stewart. And Moore singled Glidden out as a young receiver to watch this season.
“He moves so quick and so fast that I wouldn't want to go out (and try to cover him),” Moore said.
Where does Glidden see himself fitting in on the 2013 offense? He isn't big on setting personal goals.
“I want to contribute to this team the best that I can,” Glidden said. “And hopefully do whatever I can to help us get to a Big 12 championship.”
What about staying healthy?
“There you go,” Glidden said with a smile. “That would be a personal goal.”