STILLWATER — When Mike Gundy hears their names in the same sentence, he gets nervous.
Sure, his sophomore running back, Kendall Hunter, is performing well. He leads the Big 12 in rushing by 118 yards and is fourth in the country in rushing yards. But like many college football fans, Gundy considers his former teammate, Barry Sanders, the best of all time.
"You’re not trying to compare those two, are ya?” Gundy asks. "It’s not fair.”
It might be an unfair comparison on the field, but there’s no denying how similar the two are on the sideline. Both are small, brutally quiet and always on the verge of a nap.
"Very similar,” Gundy concedes. "Off the field.”
OSU running backs coach Curtis Luper was Sanders’ teammate for two years, and he’s been Hunter’s position coach for two years. He said the similarities are uncanny at times.
"Barry would go to sleep at halftime,” Luper said. "You’d have to wake him up. I remember several times Thurman (Thomas) would say, ‘Hey don’t forget to wake B up.’ We’d kinda laugh, and he’d do it. (Hunter), he’s capable of falling asleep at halftime, during the first quarter, at any point in time. He says he has a sleeping disorder.”
Hunter said that as a kid he watched Sanders playing for Detroit and that he was one of his favorites – "How he shifted and how it seemed like nobody could catch him because he’s strong and shifty.