STILLWATER — Daytawion Lowe is part fierce tackler, a guy Carl Albert High School coach Gary Rose calls one of the biggest hitters he's had in nearly 40 years as a coach.
Lowe is also part laid-back country boy, a guy who often ditches his city upbringing to spend his downtime fishing and riding horses on the land his family owns in western Oklahoma.
And those close to Lowe describe him in one of the simplest yet most complimentary ways possible — happy. The smile he consistently flashes, whether it's while jokingly jawing with a teammate following practice or chatting with the media, are examples of that.
There are multiple layers to the Oklahoma State safety, who recorded a team-high 97 tackles last season and is one of the Cowboys' top returning defensive players in 2012. He'd next like to add defensive leader to his list of roles, especially after the departure of All-American strong safety Markelle Martin.
“I'm stepping up to where the guys will be comfortable with coming to me,” Lowe said. “When I say something, they listen, because they know that I wouldn't tell them something wrong. It's really being accountable for what I do, leading by example.”
Rose isn't at all surprised that Lowe has morphed into a force in the OSU secondary and become a vocal presence among his teammates.
A high school All-American at Carl Albert, Lowe was already making the secondary calls as a sophomore safety while also playing wide receiver and serving as the Titans' trick play specialist. If not for fellow star David Oku, Rose believes Lowe would have been one of the best high school running backs in Oklahoma during his career. He probably could have even played quarterback.
“Smart, happy, great athlete, great attitude,” Rose said. “The kind that you would love to have a dozen of in a program.”
“He's smiling, he's happy. And then when you strap them on, he comes in and rocks your world.”
But Lowe's off-the-field persona is quite different from the intensity he shows between the lines, as evidenced by his love for outdoor leisure activities. Daytawion's father, Ralph, gave him a worm and a pole as soon as he could hold it, and put him on a horse as soon as he was big enough to steer.
“It's relaxing to me,” Daytawion said. “It gives you time to clear your mind.”
And those hobbies aren't any big secret with his football mates. Daytawion rode a horse during Carl Albert's homecoming parade every year of high school, and he has invited OSU teammates out to enjoy his family's land.
That country mentality is part of the reason why Daytawion always identified with OSU, even though he grew up in one of those divided Oklahoma City households. His dad was a Cowboy fan, while his mom, Lucretia, was a Sooner supporter because she worked at OU Medical Center.
Daytawion played on every special teams unit as a true freshman, recording 10 tackles. But during a voluntary workout just before fall camp his sophomore season, Daytawion injured his right shoulder when he fell to the turf while trying to break up a pass intended for former wide receiver Michael Harrison.