OSU recruit Herschel Sims even more impressive off the field

You can watch the YouTube highlights and see the recruiting rankings and know what kind of player Herschel Sims is. But you can't know what kind of person Oklahoma State will soon be getting.

by Jenni Carlson Modified: January 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm •  Published: January 27, 2011
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You can watch the YouTube highlights and see the recruiting rankings and know what kind of player Herschel Sims is.

But even with the change-of-direction moves, the see-you-later touchdowns and the five-star love, you can't know what kind of person Oklahoma State will soon be getting.

Sims is expected to make his commitment to the Cowboys official next week on signing day — the running back's brief flirtation with TCU and Baylor seems to have passed after a visit to Stillwater last weekend — and he could be good enough to play a significant role next season. Still, what he does on the field is never going to be more impressive than what he has already done off it.

Sims is a survivor of abuse.

The beatings began one night when his mother and stepfather returned to their Abilene, Texas, home after going to a movie. Something set off his stepdad, who became enraged with the three kids. He tied their feet to the bunk beds, tied their hands to a door knob and started whooping them.

Sims was only 6 or 7 years old.

His siblings were even younger.

“He used an extension cord and his fist,” Sims told the CBS television affiliate in Abilene. “It just went on for days and days.”

A teacher eventually noticed that Sims' younger brother was having trouble sitting down in class. Authorities were alerted, and arrests were made.

Sims' stepfather was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the abuse, and his mother was sentenced to eight years for not reporting it.

Because she had been incarcerated for several years for other crimes when Sims was just a baby, she missed almost 16 years of his life. That meant he lived with grandparents, with aunts and uncles, even with friends from time to time.

It was a recipe for disaster.

For awhile, Sims was headed for trouble. He acted up in class. He talked back to teachers.

But he always had this dream.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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