Stillwater Pioneers football
|2 - 8||2 - 3||0 - 5||.200||267||359|
|2013-09-06||vs||McAlester||L||34 - 47|
|2013-09-13||@||Midwest City||L||22 - 28|
|2013-09-20||vs||Mustang||L||26 - 49|
|2013-09-27||vs||Ponca City||W||41 - 0|
|2013-10-04||@||Tulsa Union||L||21 - 62|
|2013-10-11||vs||Tulsa Washington||L||13 - 41|
|2013-10-17||@||Bartlesville||L||6 - 31|
|2013-10-25||@||Sand Springs||L||41 - 44|
|2013-11-01||vs||Enid||W||43 - 27|
|2013-11-08||@||Owasso||L||20 - 30|
|Player Name||Number||Year||Height||Weight||Position (main)|
Stillwater football News
NewsOK articles about Stillwater football, or articles mentioning current or former Stillwater football players.
Stillwater High School Varsity Boys Football
STILLWATER — When Jameis Winston peers into Oklahoma State’s secondary, he’ll spot three new starters. In the season opener, with no opportunity to ease into things. No Savannah State on the other side. The Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy holder might get a bit giddy. “Nobody likes to throw them out there against the national champion,” said Cowboys cornerbacks coach Van Malone....
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys have a lot of youth in secondary
By John Helsley | Aug 21, 2014STILLWATER — When Jameis Winston peers into Oklahoma State’s secondary, he’ll spot three new starters. In the season opener, with no opportunity to ease into things. No Savannah State on the other side. The Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy holder might get a bit giddy. “Nobody likes to throw them out there against the national champion,” said Cowboys cornerbacks coach Van Malone. “But guess what, those are the cards. Let’s go.” The situation isn’t as dire as it sounds. Kevin Peterson started a year ago and starred opposite Justin Gilbert. He’s an All-Big 12-caliber corner. Ashton Lampkin, who has provided solid help as a reserve, steps into the other starter’s role, and Malone believes he’s ready to thrive. At free safety, senior Larry Stephens is coming off his best August as a Cowboy and is ready to be a major contributor for the first time. After that, the uncertainty enters. The backup corners and safeties are freshmen and sophomores, and redshirt freshman Tre Flowers is projected to start at strong safety. For Cowboys coaches, all that youth brings a mixed bag. “You know, it’s kind of double-edged there,” said Mike Gundy. “You have times you get a little frustrated because there’s so many young players out there. But then also, it’s very enjoyable to watch them progress and develop. “It’s a different year for us. We have a lot of players that are inexperienced and they’re learning on the run, so we bring them along just like we did the last group.” CORNERBACKS STARTERS 1 Kevin Peterson;;5-11;;185;;Jr.;;Wagoner Justin Gilbert was great a year ago. And quietly, Peterson was, too, on the opposite side. Now it’s his turn to be the name in the secondary, and he appears more than up for it. 6 Ashton Lampkin;;5-11;;180;;Jr.;;Fort Worth, Texas As the third corner to the Peterson-Gilbert tandem, Lampkin served as a key backup and OSU’s special teams MVP. There’s confidence that he’ll step into a starting role with ease. BACKUPS 2 Darius Curry;;6-1;;190;;Fr.;;Flowery Branch, Ga. The younger Curry brother on the OSU roster to receiver C.J., Darius appears ready to make his own name after a redshirt season in 2013. 22 Juwan Offray;;5-11;;180;;Fr.;;New Orleans A true freshman, Offray’s transition to the college level has gone smoothly. A strong preseason puts him in place to play a vital backup role. RESERVES 3 Chris Hardeman;;5-9;;178;;Fr.;;Houston A touted recruit from the latest class, Hardeman is yet another of the young players who showed up strong in the preseason. 18 Ramon Richards;;6-0;;180;;Fr.;;San Antonio Arrived with the “athlete” tag after playing several positions, including quarterback, as a prep senior. The true freshman has quickly adapted to cornerback and seems to have found a home. 25 Taylor Lewis;;6-0;;180;;Fr.;;Dallas A redshirt a year ago, Lewis is in the mix to provide valuable depth and continue developing for a significant future role. 24 Miketavius Jones;;5-10;;175;;Jr.;;Houston One of the team’s fastest players, Jones continues to seek traction to putting himself on the depth chart. He’s been a major special-teams contributor. FREE SAFETY 20 Larry Stephens;;5-10;;185;;Sr.;;Houston After missing all of last season to injury, Stephens has made a final career push in a good-news story on the roster. His veteran presence should be a boost. BACKUP 16 Deric Robertson;;6-2;;200;;So.;;Killeen, Texas Robertson played well in key situations as a freshman, appearing in eight games. He’ll be heavily involved in a rotation with Stephens. STRONG SAFETY 7 Tre Flowers;;6-3;;190;;Fr.;;Converse, Texas After adding some bulk to his lanky frame, Flowers made an impression in the spring and carried it over to August workouts, pushing to the top of the depth chart. BACKUP 13 Jordan Sterns;;6-1;;205;;So.;;Cibolo, Texas Along with Robertson, Sterns played meaningful snaps as a freshman. He, too, figures to be a major contributor who will keep pushing for a starting job. RESERVES 4 Dylan Harding;;6-2;;190;;Fr.;;Jenks The true freshman from Jenks made an immediate impression in fall camp and has placed himself on the fast track to playing time. 11 Tre Roberts;;6-2;;202;;Fr.;;Houston Another true freshman, Roberts played all over the field in high school. He’s projected for a safety spot with the Cowboys, who love his athleticism. 5 Jerel Morrow;;6-0;;180;;Fr.;;Emporia, Kan. Following a redshirt year, Morrow is yet another young player in play to produce in the secondary for a long time. He was the No. 1-ranked player in the state of Kansas coming out of high school.
Aug 21, 2014
NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Blake Bell said after Thursday’s practice that he hasn’t taken a snap at quarterback since early January. But multiple sources confirmed to The Oklahoman that Bell has been splitting some of his time this week in practice between his new position — tight end — and his old one. Bell’s limited […]
Oklahoma football: Sources confirm Blake Bell taking limited practice reps at quarterback
Jason Kersey | Aug 21, 2014NORMAN — Oklahoma senior Blake Bell said after Thursday’s practice that he hasn’t taken a snap at quarterback since early January. But multiple sources confirmed to The Oklahoman that Bell has been splitting some of his time this week in practice between his new position — tight end — and his old one. Bell’s limited quarterback repetitions have only come against the second-team defense, and coaches have only been working him there as possible insurance in case something happens to starter Trevor Knight. Earlier this week, coach Bob Stoops said redshirt freshman Cody Thomas would likely be Knight’s primary backup, but according to sources, Thomas has been injured, which is why Bell has split second-team reps this week with true freshman Justice Hansen. Thomas’ injury isn’t believed to be serious. He was dressed out in full pads for the open portion of Thursday’s practice, when students and media were allowed inside. Bell didn’t take any snaps at quarterback during the open portion of practice. The Sooners also have sophomore Baker Mayfield on the roster, but he is battling the NCAA for immediate eligibility after transferring from Texas Tech, where he started several games and played well last season as a true freshman. The walk-on Mayfield would in all likelihood be Knight’s backup — eliminating the need for Bell to work at all at quarterback — if he were eligible. Bell came to OU as a four-star quarterback from Bishop Carroll High School in Wichita, Kan., and served as the backup to Landry Jones in 2012. He also scored 24 rushing touchdowns over two seasons in the special “Belldozer” package. Knight beat Bell out for the starting quarterback job to begin the 2013 season, but Bell replaced him in the fourth quarter of the second game and started eight times in 2013. He also came off the bench to lead OU to a last-minute touchdown to shock No. 6 Oklahoma State in Stillwater in the Sooners’ regular-season finale. But after Knight’s MVP performance in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama, Bell moved to tight end, and until this week, that’s where he’d worked exclusively. Bell completed 60.1 percent of his passes last season for 1,648 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Aug 20, 2014
STILLWATER — Bob Connelly arrived for spring practice under the gun. First, he was replacing longtime offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who left to join Charlie Strong at Texas. Second, and more importantly, he faced a major overhaul of a line that had been ravaged by injury and defections. Connelly can’t do anything about comparisons to Wickline. But he can – and is – at work piecing together...
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys trying to piece together offensive line
By John Helsley | Aug 20, 2014STILLWATER — Bob Connelly arrived for spring practice under the gun. First, he was replacing longtime offensive line coach Joe Wickline, who left to join Charlie Strong at Texas. Second, and more importantly, he faced a major overhaul of a line that had been ravaged by injury and defections. Connelly can’t do anything about comparisons to Wickline. But he can – and is – at work piecing together a capable unit from the wreckage, created at least in part by Wickline, who left the cupboard somewhat barren. Oklahoma State’s two-deep depth chart features three seniors, two of those junior college transfers; just one junior; three sophomores; and two freshman, including a redshirt freshman slated to start at right tackle. The reserves? All freshmen and sophomores. The upper classes are thin on starters and bodies. The good news: the line, at least the starting five, has been a pleasant surprise this preseason. “It’s coming together,” Connelly said. “I’m encouraged.” The Cowboys could have benefited by the return of Travis Cross and Jake Jenkins, who would have been senior starters. But each chose to move into the workforce and forego their final seasons. Still, Connelly remains optimistic. “The relationship process I’ve been trying to build since I got here in February has engrained some confidence in them, I think,” Connelly said. “As long as they respect who I am, understand that I have their best interests in my heart and know that the information I’m providing them will help them become better players, I think we’ll get there as a unit. “They’re starting to buy into who I am. I think we’ve come a long way from Day 1 of spring.” Left Tackle Starter LT 58 Daniel Koenig;;6-6;;300;;Sr.;;Cape Coral, Fla. OSU’s most experienced lineman, with 22 career starts. A two-year regular, Koenig is being counted on to be the anchor to this unit, both physically and mentally, as a leader. Backup 74 Michael Wilson;;6-6;;300;;So.;;Aledo, Texas A coveted recruit from a three-time high school state championship team, Wilson played sparingly as a redshirt freshman a year ago. His role should expand dramatically. Left Guard Starter LG 75 Chris Grisbhy;;6-5;;325;;Sr.;;Clute, Texas With eight career starts, Grisbhy is the second-most veteran offensive lineman, which punctuates the inexperience of the unit. A former juco recruit, he’s made great strides in Year 2. Backup 76 Colby Hegwood;;6-5;;320;;Jr.;;Flowood, Miss. A junior college addition a year ago, Hegwood played a minor role, appearing in two games. He’s moving into a key backup role this season. Center Starter 57 Paul Lewis;;6-3;;295;;So.;;Houston, Texas He earned valuable playing time as a redshirt freshman, starting one game. Now Lewis finds himself as the CPU of the unit and a key cog in OSU’s success. Backup 50 Zac Veatch;;6-4;;290;;So.;;Broken Arrow A tight end and defensive lineman in high school, Veatch has thrived in his move to the offensive line. A rugged competitor, his versatility makes him the backup here and the starter at right guard. Right Guard Starter 50 Zac Veatch;;6-4;;290;;So.;;Broken Arrow See above. Backup 64 Jesse Robinson;;6-0;;300;;Fr.;;Bedford, Texas Probably the backup at the guard spots, Robinson carries high upside according to coaches. A lack of depth will likely rush the redshirt freshman into duty this season. Right Tackle Starter 60 Zach Crabtree;;6-7;;290;;Fr.;;Mansfield, Texas Coaches are high on Crabtree, who has practiced well, even as a redshirt freshman going against OSU’s formidable defensive front. A potential future star. Backup 67 Brandon Garrett;;6-5;;295;;Sr.;;Deer Park, Texas He played in 11 games and started four in his first season a year ago, after arriving from junior college. After surgery to repair a leg injury suffered in the Cotton Bowl, Garrett nearing 100 percent. Reserves 69 Devin Davis;;6-5;;312;;So.;;Nacogdoches, Texas Would have been the starting left tackle a year ago, before a major knee injury in the preseason wrecked his season. Davis is still working his way back. 73 Grant Canis;;6-2;;275;;So.;;Midland, Texas A walk-on who provides depth at the center spot. 66 Lemaefe Galea’i;;6-5;;330;;Fr.;;Trinity, Texas A true freshman, Galea’i already has impressive size and strength. With continued development, he could become a fixture at guard for several seasons. 79 Jack Kurzu;;6-4;;305;;Fr.;;St. Louis, Mo. After redshirting a year ago, Kurzu continues to develop and work toward fitting into OSU’s future on the line. 78 Matthew Mucha;;6-6;;255;;Fr.;;Seabrook, Texas A Top 100 recruit out of Texas, the true freshman will likely redshirt in an effort to add bulk and strength. 77 Jaxon Salinas;;6-4;;305;;Fr.;;Irving, Texas A redshirt freshman, Salinas is working to put himself into the picture.
Aug 17, 2014
All signs point to more than one quarterback playing for Oklahoma State this season.
OSU football: No clear No. 1 quarterback for Cowboys
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON | Aug 17, 2014STILLWATER — All signs point to more than one quarterback playing for Oklahoma State this season. J.W. Walsh finished spring as the presumed replacement for Clint Chelf, but coach Mike Gundy hasn’t named Walsh, Daxx Garman or Mason Rudolph the starter throughout fall camp. As the opener at AT&T Stadium against defending national champion Florida State approaches, there’s no firm answer as to who will play the majority of snaps in week one. Rather than rehash all the possible scenarios or dissect the possible strategy of keeping the Seminoles in the dark, here’s a timeline of the more outspoken things Gundy has said about his quarterbacks, despite little actually being known as to who the Cowboys’ signal caller will be: OSU FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY / AUG. 2 “Whoever we play, we hope that, most of the time, they'll play at a solid level,” Gundy said. “I think, as coaches, we're responsible for that. Our quarterback situation this year is a little bit different than what it has been in the past. We vary our style of offense based on who's in the game. We expect that player and that style to be involved enough to score points. “It's a very good possibility,” that multiple quarterbacks earn playing time.” POST-PRACTICE / AUG. 5 Gundy said Daxx Garman is preparing as if he will take “10-to-12 snaps” in the Aug. 30 opener. “I would always prefer to say, ‘OK, here’s our guy.’ And then (the backup) is prepared to play, but the other guy is clearly more mature and better at this point,” Gundy said. “But if something happened, (the backup) could make a play. I think that’s my best case scenario … If you have guys that can bring something different to the table — that’s what we have right now — then I’m a little reluctant to just disregard that (multiple look) aspect of it.” OKLAHOMA CITY COWBOY CARAVAN / AUG. 5 “We have a heck of a quarterback battle going.” POST-PRACTICE / AUG. 16 “The quarterbacks played really the best that they’ve played in a scrimmage in a number of years here … They were very productive.” Depth Chart No. Name Height Weight Class 4 JW Walsh 6-2 201 Jr. Walsh’s career record as a starter is 6-2, but he lost the job to Clint Chelf in 2013 after inconsistent play early in the season. 12 Daxx Garman 6-2 205 Jr. Garman has received rave reviews for his arm strength, but the Arizona transfer hasn’t started a game with any meaning since he was a junior in high school. 10 Mason Rudolph 6-4 204 Fr. The true freshman ran a spread offense in high school, has a strong arm and NFL-type frame. But would he benefit from redshirt year? 14 Cornelius Taylor 6-6 184 Fr. Taylor is a very tall freshman walk-on for the Cowboys.
Aug 17, 2014
The two Oklahoma State football defensive standouts were opponents in that state title matchup. Jimmy Bean at Denton Guyer, about 30 miles north of Dallas. Ryan Simmons at Cibolo Steele, about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio.
Oklahoma State football: Former high school foes are now roommates
By Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 17, 2014Two Cowboy football players who had “a little conflict” last season are now roommates. Nothing too serious, but important enough for the duo to make a very specific pact this year. No discussing the 2010 Class 5A Division II Texas high school state championship game. “He doesn’t really like me mentioning that too much,” said linebacker Ryan Simmons last month in an interview with the Denton Record-Chronicle. “We just made a truce to not even talk about it,” defensive end Jimmy Bean said after practice Saturday. The two Oklahoma State football defensive standouts were opponents in that state title matchup. Bean at Denton Guyer, about 30 miles north of Dallas. Simmons at Cibolo Steele, about 30 miles northeast of San Antonio. Both were seniors. Each was ranked as a three-star recruit by Rivals and held scholarship offers from top Division-I schools across the nation. But their memories of that game couldn’t be more split. For Simmons, an unforgettable finale to his high school football career. For Bean, the ultimate what-could-have-been moment. Cibolo Steele won 24-21. Simmons’ eight tackles and one interception of now OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh earned him defensive MVP honors. Bean doesn’t hold any grudges. If anything, he said that game was “something that really brought us closer together.” But that doesn’t mean reminiscing on the outcome is all that enjoyable. And these two are far from the only Cowboys who understand that dynamic. There are currently 68 former Texas high school football players listed on OSU’s online roster. That’s more than half of the entire team. “A lot of the guys (at OSU) I competed against in high school,” Bean said. “When we were coming in, we lived close to each other, so the whole recruiting process you see each other at a lot of different places. So when we came up here, a lot of us knew each other pretty well.” As young former Texas opponents bond as teammates in Stillwater, the conversation seems to always circle back to who was the big man on campus back in high school. “Everybody is always up on the training table talking about whose high school is going to make it to the playoffs, how many playoffs they’ve been to, stuff like that,” Bean said. “Everybody likes competition.” Count running back Desmond Roland in that group. He played for Lake Highlands in Dallas, and says he never gets tired of hearing about the glory days in a state that loves its high school football. Especially when he can give his teammates a hard time. “I know their team made it to the championship game a few times, but they never won it,” Roland laughed with Bean after practice Saturday. “That’s always my comeback.” “When I was there,” Bean countered. “The past two years, we won state.” Past success fuels future confidence. Many leaders and expected top contributors in the Cowboys’ 2014 locker room are former Texas high school football players: Bean, Simmons, Walsh, safety Larry Stephens, wide receiver Jhajaun Seals, and the list goes on. “It’s that Texas environment,” Roland said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Oklahoma State football: Offensive line coach Bob Connelly up to three verbal 2015-class commits, hopes to add two moreAug 16, 2014
STILLWATER — Oklahoma State offensive line coach Bob Connelly said Saturday he’s “slept a little easier at night” over the past week. Apparently, the stress from months of hopping on and off airplanes and scouting hundreds of football players across the nation can wear you out.
Oklahoma State football: Offensive line coach Bob Connelly up to three verbal 2015-class commits, hopes to add two more
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 16, 2014[img url=https://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/08/5c2b72a8c0478d51fd39ca00224ba30d.jpg]3299275[/img] STILLWATER — Oklahoma State offensive line coach Bob Connelly said Saturday he’s “slept a little easier at night” over the past week. Apparently, the stress from months of hopping on and off airplanes and scouting hundreds of football players across the nation can wear you out. And when two of those recruits verbally commit like they did last week, rest comes a little easier. Over the span of three days last week, OSU picked up two offensive line commits for its 2015 class — Joshua Jones of Bush High School (Texas) and Brandon Pertile of Mesa Community College (Arizona). The Cowboys also previously received a verbal commitment from Johnny Wilson of Midland Christian High School (Texas). Each is ranked as a three-star prospect by Rivals. Connelly can’t comment on those three players until when, or if, they officially sign with the Cowboys come February. But he did explain how important they were to an upcoming class in dire need of offensive linemen. “It’s a big, big, big need of ours,” Connelly said. “Getting those two additions gets us to three and we’re looking to get two more guys. Potentially one junior college (and) one more high school player, because of the guys we lost last year and then obviously moving forward with three seniors this year.” Connelly was added to the OSU coaching staff after the 2014 class was signed, so these three recruits are the first of his Cowboy tenure. Connelly said he’s been working “tirelessly” in recruiting since he arrived in Stillwater. “For me, it’s been a big challenge,” Connelly said. “I’ve had to scout all over, and when you add junior college prospects, we have to expand outside Oklahoma and Texas or surrounding states. So it required a lot of travel for me this spring. Through mid-April all the way through the month of May, I was out just about every day in an airport flying all over the country trying to find guys.”
Aug 16, 2014
Mike Gundy gave his final fall camp post-practice interview Saturday afternoon outside Boone Pickens Stadium and summarized what he saw during Oklahoma State’s team scrimmage. The Cowboys ran 115 plays. Penalties were limited for the most part. Tackling was improved on defense and offensive skill players were explosive. Then, Gundy said this: “The quarterbacks played really the best that...
Oklahoma State football notebook: Mike Gundy has high praise for quarterbacks
By Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 16, 2014Mike Gundy gave his final fall camp post-practice interview Saturday afternoon outside Boone Pickens Stadium and summarized what he saw during Oklahoma State’s team scrimmage. The Cowboys ran 115 plays. Penalties were limited for the most part. Tackling was improved on defense and offensive skill players were explosive. Then, Gundy said this: “The quarterbacks played really the best that they’ve played in a scrimmage in a number of years here … They were very productive.” More high praise for the trio of quarterbacks — J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman and Mason Rudolph — who Gundy said could rotate in and out this season. But it did come with a disclaimer. Gundy said at different points during Saturday’s scrimmage inside the Sherman E. Smith Training Center, as many as eight freshmen were on the field at the same time. When asked if the quarterbacks’ success was earned or allowed by new faces on defense, Gundy said it could be a “combination of both.” “They’re obviously a little more vulnerable when there’s youth out there,” he said. “But I have a pretty good feel for when the quarterback is in the right spot mentally and physically. … I thought that they competed and made good plays today.” Bullet points from the rest of Gundy’s interview: Nine different wide receivers played in Saturday’s scrimmage. Gundy would not provide a health update for two Cowboys returning from injury this season: offensive lineman Devin Davis, who tore his ACL and damaged his meniscus last fall camp, or JUCO transfer linebacker Devante Averette, who suffered a knee injury in spring. Players will have about a 60-hour break now that fall camp has wrapped up, Gundy said. With classes starting Monday, the Cowboys won’t hit the practice field again until Tuesday. CONNELLY NOT DONE RECRUITING OFFENSIVE LINEMEN Oklahoma State offensive line coach Bob Connelly said Saturday he’s “slept a little easier at night” over the past week. Apparently, the stress from months of hopping on and off airplanes and scouting hundreds of football players across the nation can wear you out. And when two of those recruits verbally commit like they did last week, rest comes a little easier. Over the span of three days last week, OSU picked up two offensive line commitments for its 2015 class — Joshua Jones of Bush (Texas) High School and Brandon Pertile of Mesa (Ariz.) Community College. The Cowboys also previously received a verbal commitment from Johnny Wilson of Midland Christian (Texas) High School. Each is ranked as a three-star prospect by Rivals. Connelly can’t comment on those three players until when, or if, they officially sign with the Cowboys come February. But he did explain how important they were to an upcoming class in dire need of offensive linemen. “It’s a big, big, big need of ours,” Connelly said. “Getting those two additions gets us to three and we’re looking to get two more guys. Potentially one junior-college (and) one more high school player, because of the guys we lost last year and then obviously moving forward with three seniors this year.” Connelly was added to the OSU coaching staff after the 2014 class was signed, so these three recruits are the first of his Cowboy tenure. Connelly said he’s been working “tirelessly” in recruiting since he arrived in Stillwater. “For me, it’s been a big challenge,” Connelly said. “I’ve had to scout all over, and when you add junior-college prospects, we have to expand outside Oklahoma and Texas or surrounding states. So it required a lot of travel for me this spring. Through mid-April all the way through the month of May, I was out just about every day in an airport flying all over the country trying to find guys.” GUNDY TALKS FORMER COWBOYS IN THE NFL Gundy said Saturday there’s a new photo addition near a team entryway inside Boone Pickens Stadium. It features seven former OSU players now suiting up for the Dallas Cowboys: quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Joseph Randle, kicker Dan Bailey, wide receiver Dez Bryant, linebacker Orie Lemon, cornerback Tyler Patmon and safety Johnny Thomas. “We still have communication with them and I hear they’re doing really well,” Gundy said. “I’m not sure that there’s another school that’s in our conferences at this level that’s had that many players that have made it this far on one NFL team.” Gundy also made a comment on former OSU running back Kendall Hunter, who tore an ACL during July drills for the San Francisco 49ers. “It was unfortunate for a very good person that works extremely hard,” Gundy said. “And it’s important to him. But if anybody will battle back, it will be Kendall. And I certainly hope he does. I think he’s got three or four years in him. I hope that he battles back and can still compete.”
Aug 16, 2014
STILLWATER — Wearing No. 81 has become a sense of pride for Oklahoma State’s Jhajuan Seales. After all, he sees the success Justin Blackmon had while wearing it for the Cowboys. And after a breakout season last year, Seales is hoping he can be even better this season. Seales caught 39 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns last season as a true freshman. Now, he’s expected to be the top...
Oklahoma State football: Jhajuan Seales talks about high expectations
BY JACOB UNRUH | Aug 16, 2014STILLWATER — Wearing No. 81 has become a sense of pride for Oklahoma State’s Jhajuan Seales. After all, he sees the success Justin Blackmon had while wearing it for the Cowboys. And after a breakout season last year, Seales is hoping he can be even better this season. Seales caught 39 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns last season as a true freshman. Now, he’s expected to be the top target and a team leader. He recently spoke with The Oklahoman about his role, Blackmon and the offseason. Q: What does wearing No. 81 like Blackmon mean to you? A: I see all of the things that he did here, but I just come to play and do great things for the team and come along with the rest of the group. There are a lot of high expectations for you this season. How do you respond when you hear that? I don’t try to pay attention to it. I just try to get around with the young guys, try to be great as a group and as a team. It’s very important to step up and help the younger guys come up because we have a great team and they need to be directed on the right path to come up and be ready to play in big games. There were a lot of veterans on the team last year that led the team. Now, it’s a young team with you expected to lead. How different are things? It’s different, but they came in from high school ready and hungry. It’s not too different because they’re ready to learn. We still do the same routines, just bring them along and show them the ropes and get after it. You went home to Port Arthur, Texas, and spoke to kids at your former school, Memorial. What was that like? I motivated them. They asked me questions about how college is, how hard you work out here and they wanted to know tips to get to the next level. I like to let them know what they can do, how it’s possible no matter what you’re going through, I let them know what they can do to get to the next level.
Aug 16, 2014
OU baseball commitment was brought back to football by a meeting with new coach Paul Hix.
High school football: Moore's Blake Brewster returns to the football field
BY JACOB UNRUH | Aug 16, 2014MOORE — Just a few games into last season, Blake Brewster walked away from the Moore football team for what he believed to be forever. There were multiple reasons. He got banged up a little bit. There was also tension between him and the coaching staff. But mostly it was about baseball. “Baseball is more where my heart is, honestly, and I felt like I needed to focus more of my energy on that,” Brewster said. That worked out well, as he developed and played well enough that he verbally committed to Oklahoma’s baseball team this summer. It was a meeting early in the summer with new Moore coach Paul Hix that changed the direction of his senior season. It brought him back to the football field, where he has served as a leader for the Lions as they look to turn things around following a decade of losing. “We talked this summer, and he made that commitment to come out and he’s going to be here and he’s going to be a key contributor for us,” Hix said. “He has shown a lot of people what it takes to be a real committed athlete. So, he’s stuck out even though he hasn’t been around as long.” Brewster stands only around 6 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds, not necessarily a physically imposing threat. But he’ll be lined up at strong safety and possibly even some running back. It’s safety that he thrives at, with a strong sense of finding the ball. “I love coming up, making hits and making the crowd go ‘oh,’” Brewster said while also noting a goal for him is to set the team record for tackles. And as part of loaded District 6A-I-2, the Lions will need every play Brewster can deliver. They haven’t had a winning season since 2004 or made the playoffs since 2005. Hix, who was Stillwater’s offensive coordinator recently, believes they can turn things around. It’s that attitude that brought Brewster back to the football field. “He actually believes we can turn this thing around,” Brewster said. “He’s the first coach since I’ve been here that you can actually tell, you can see it in his eyes that he actually (thinks) we’re going to win this thing and we’ve got a chance. I think just being a part of that makes me want to be out here even more.” But to make the changes, Hix said it starts with getting tougher. That’s where Brewster will help as the team’s lone Division I athlete. It doesn’t matter that the label comes in baseball. “For any kid, if you’re going to look at one person that would come out and out-work everyone, it’s great that it’s him,” Hix said. “If anyone was going to have a sense of entitlement, he’s already committed to the Division I level to play baseball. “He probably could have come out here and went through the motions and been OK, but he’s been an absolute leader physically for us, mentally, emotionally and he’s been an absolute joy. I knew he would be. I knew he would provide as much off the field as he would on the field, and that’s been the case.”
Aug 14, 2014
Rudolph’s high school coach says the freshman wants to be the Cowboys’ starter right now. “He doesn’t want to redshirt,” said Northwestern High School coach Kyle Richardson.
Oklahoma State football: Mason Rudolph wants to start as a freshman
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 14, 2014STILLWATER — Oklahoma State football coaches haven’t confirmed whether freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph will play or redshirt this season. Rudolph — and every first-year Cowboy football player — is not permitted to talk with reporters, making it even more difficult to assess his potential role next season. But ask Rudolph’s high school coach, Kyle Richardson at Northwestern in Rock Hill, S.C., and the four-star recruit’s thought process becomes clear. “He wants to be the starter right now,” Richardson said in a phone interview Thursday. “He doesn’t want to redshirt.” No big surprise. Rudolph ran an air-raid spread in high school seemingly identical in philosophy to offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich’s system. And coach Mike Gundy has said Rudolph is in the mix to play “situationally” this season if the strategy fits best. What might seem surprising, though, is Richardson’s take on the situation. “I’d like to see him redshirt,” Richardson said. “My view is from the point where we see the bigger picture.” It’s not that he doesn’t think Rudolph is capable. Richardson said his former quarterback “could play at a young age” in the Cowboys’ offense and has the physical tools to succeed. But there are other variables at hand that could make sitting out a season beneficial. “You can’t prepare yourself for the speed of the college game,” Richardson said. And there’s more. “He’s not going to walk into the huddle at 18-years-old and tell 23-year-olds what to do,” he continued. “It just doesn’t happen.” But as the Aug. 30 Florida State opener approaches and the lingering questions as to who will play the majority of quarterback snaps this season go unanswered, Richardson recalled a similar position battle that took place on his field back in the fall of 2011. That’s when Rudolph, then a high school sophomore, beat out a senior to become the starting quarterback at Northwestern. Before that season, Rudolph was a freshman tight end at a private school in town. Richardson was able to convince Rudolph to transfer after witnessing his skills at a passing camp, and the promise he could one day win a state championship and become a college quarterback. That vision was made credible by Richardson’s recent success at developing the position. The starting quarterback at Northwestern in 2010 was senior Justin Worley — who was just announced Thursday as the starting quarterback for Tennessee, where he is now a senior. Worley set a number of state records his senior season of high school and was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year following an undefeated campaign and a state championship victory. Next in line for his job was a rising senior at Northwestern. Rudolph, who had just transferred in as Worley graduated, was listed at No. 2 on the depth chart. But not for long. “Mason had to go beat him out and he did,” Richardson said. “Once he took over the starting job, he never gave it up. Nothing around here is given to anybody, so he definitely had to come in and earn everything that he got.” The senior started in the opener that fall, but Rudolph took over week two. He went on to start for Northwestern the next three seasons, compiling 10,986 career passing yards and winning the state title his final year. “He didn’t get caught up in who he was replacing and just went to work every day and worried about the job that he had had to do,” Richardson said. “I think that was the big thing that led to the most success for him.” That same attitude would seem beneficial to Rudolph this season, but the ultimate decision on his use in 2014 has yet to be made. “We’re not sure yet,” Gundy said back in early August. “We’ll just have to let the thing play itself out and see how those guys develop … I thought he was considerably better today than when we finished in the spring.” Richardson said he texts Rudolph once or twice a week, but their conversations are as much about life as a college freshman away from home as football. No matter what happens this season, he said Rudolph is in a position to be successful. “It’s a win-win situation,” Richardson said. “If he wins the starting job, great. If he doesn’t, hopefully he sticks with his redshirt all year and then can have four years to compete at a high level within the system.”
Aug 13, 2014
Oklahoma State added its second offensive lineman to its 2015 recruiting class in the last week on Wednesday. Brandon Pertile — a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle out of Mesa Community College (Ariz.) — announced on Twitter he plans to play for Cowboys offensive line coach Bob Connelly next season. The announcement comes just two days […]
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys land JUCO-transfer offensive lineman Brandon Pertile
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 13, 2014Oklahoma State added its second offensive lineman to its 2015 recruiting class in the last week on Wednesday. Brandon Pertile — a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle out of Mesa Community College (Ariz.) — announced on Twitter he plans to play for Cowboys offensive line coach Bob Connelly next season. The announcement comes just two days after Joshua Jones — a 6-foot-6, 271-pound offensive tackle from Bush High School in Richmond, Texas — took to the same social media site to say he’s coming to Stillwater as well. Rivals.com ranks Pertile as a three-star prospect. He held 10 scholarship offers, including Cincinnati and Utah. [img url=https://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/08/photo-21.jpg]3246099[/img] Pertile is OSU’s 10th commitment in its 2015 class and the third offensive lineman. Verbal commitments are non-binding. Prospects cannot sign national letters of intent until February 4. – Follow @kylefredrickson on Twitter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aug 13, 2014
Brandon Pertile — a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle out of Mesa Community College (Ariz.) — announced on Twitter he plans to play for Cowboys offensive line coach Bob Connelly next season.
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys land junior college transfer offensive lineman
By Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 13, 2014Oklahoma State added its second offensive lineman to its 2015 recruiting class in the last week on Wednesday. Brandon Pertile — a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle out of Mesa Community College (Ariz.) — announced on Twitter he plans to play for Cowboys offensive line coach Bob Connelly next season. The announcement comes just two days after Joshua Jones — a 6-foot-6, 271-pound offensive tackle from Bush High School in Richmond, Texas — took to the same social media site to say he’s coming to Stillwater as well. Rivals.com ranks Pertile as a three-star prospect. He held 10 scholarship offers, including Cincinnati and Utah. Pertile is OSU’s 10th commitment in its 2015 class and the third offensive lineman. Verbal commitments are non-binding. Prospects cannot sign national letters of intent until Feb. 4. SAFETIES IMPRESS WITH LEADERSHIP, YOUNG PLAYER DEVELOPMENT OSU safeties coach Tim Duffie has one senior, Larry Stephens, and a slew of underclassmen on his roster. Duffie answered questions about the group after a two-hour practice Wednesday, and said Stephens is “really leading the group and showing them the way we want them to practice.” “I think I was a little unfair on (Stephens) in the spring because he was coming off an injury, and I thought he should have been further along than he was,” Duffie said. “Now he’s full-go and really taken an active role in leadership with the guys.” Duffie was also asked about the development of three young safeties: sophomores Jordan Sterns and Deric Robertson and redshirt freshman Tre Flowers. “Actually, they are ahead of where I thought they would be,” Duffie said. “I think Coach (Rob) Glass did a really good job this summer of getting them in tip-top shape mentally and physically. I think some people on the outside don’t realize how much affect he plays into the mental development of our players in enduring pain and pushing through fatigue. In the spring, it’s a little bit harder, but now in fall camp these guys are ready to go and ready to play at a high level.” GUNDY’S BIRTHDAY DANCE CAUGHT ON CAMERA Mike Gundy’s dance moves lit YouTube on fire in 2011. Get ready for round two. Tuesday was the Oklahoma State football coach’s 47th birthday. And a few minutes before the Cowboys wrapped up morning practice, the OSU Marching Band and Gundy’s wife, Kristen, surprised the team with a performance and a Happy Birthday banner. The entire ordeal was caught on video. And Gundy showcased some nifty dance moves. It was another classic shakedown from the coach who became famous for his celebratory jig following the Cowboys’ 30-29 victory at Texas A&M three years ago. The surprise performance was set up by Wayne Bovenshcen, assistant director of the marching band, and Kristen Gundy. Bovenschen has been with the OSU music department for 28 years. He said when Gundy was the Cowboys’ quarterback, the drumline would play along as the team walked from the locker room to the field during home game days. Bovenschen thought it would be fitting to celebrate Gundy’s birthday with the old-time tradition. He said he had wanted to do something like this for the past two years. So with a bit of sneakiness, he caught the coach off guard and captured cinematic-dance gold in the process. “I don’t know who contacted them and brought them over,” Gundy said. “But it was neat.” HOUSTON NUT-LED RADIO CREW TO BROADCAST FROM PRACTICE THURSDAY OSU will welcome a former quarterback, assistant coach and graduate back to campus Thursday: Houston Nutt. Nutt is part of a SiriusXM radio team that will broadcast live from fall camp as part of a nationwide preseason college football tour. It will air noon to 3 p.m. on College Sports Nation, channel 91. From 1979 to 1981, Nutt redshirted one year and suited up two seasons at quarterback for the Cowboy football team. Nutt graduated from OSU in 1981 and returned as an offensive assistant coach for six seasons. Nutt was also the former head coach at Murray State, Boise State, Arkansas and Ole Miss.
Aug 11, 2014
STILLWATER — Oklahoma State added a second offensive lineman to its 2015 recruiting class Monday. Joshua Jones — a 6-foot-6, 271-pound offensive tackle from Bush High School in Richmond, Texas — announced on Twitter his intention to play for the Cowboys next season. Rivals and ESPN both ranked Jones as a three-star prospect. He held more […]
Oklahoma State football: Cowboys land three-star Texas offensive lineman Joshua Jones
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 11, 2014STILLWATER — Oklahoma State added a second offensive lineman to its 2015 recruiting class Monday. Joshua Jones — a 6-foot-6, 271-pound offensive tackle from Bush High School in Richmond, Texas — announced on Twitter his intention to play for the Cowboys next season. Rivals and ESPN both ranked Jones as a three-star prospect. He held more than a dozen scholarship offers, including Texas Tech and TCU. Jones’ Rivals page: [img url=https://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/08/photo.jpg]3209934[/img] Jones is OSU’s ninth commitment in its 2015 class. He will join fellow Texas offensive lineman Johnny Wilson (Midland Christian). Verbal commitments are non-binding. Prospects cannot sign national letters of intent until February 4.
The Ringling offensive lineman verbally committed to Houston on Sunday, choosing to go with an offer that protected him should he get injured while also relieving pressure for the upcoming season.
High school notebook: Ringling's Riley Daniel commits to Houston
BY JACOB UNRUH, SCOTT WRIGHT AND TRENT SHADID | Aug 11, 2014The offer was too good for Riley Daniel to pass up. The Ringling offensive lineman verbally committed to Houston on Sunday, choosing to go with an offer that protected him should he get injured while also relieving pressure for the upcoming season. “I’m just going to focus on my senior year now,” Daniel said. “I went down there on that trip (a week ago) and I really liked them. I got to meet the players and I really liked them. They matched my personality, their facilities are real nice and the coaches liked me a lot. I just liked it down there.” Daniel, who is 6-foot-6, 310 pounds and ranked No. 16 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30, also had offers from Tulsa and North Texas. But Houston promising to honor their offer should he get hurt this season was the tipping point. “They said they would give me my scholarship either way if I got hurt my senior year or not,” Daniel said. “Most other schools won’t do that for you. It’s kind of a safety deal. “It can be pretty scary because if you get hurt, you’re done.” MIDWEST CITY OPENS 6A-II TITLE CHASE WITH MIDNIGHT PRACTICE Midwest City football players stood in warm-up lines for nearly 10 minutes waiting for the horn to blow signaling that 12:01 a.m. had arrived and high school football practice could officially begin. Not long after the workout began, a voice emerged from a group of players going through an offensive drill. “I need a ring, man,” the player yelled. “I need a ring, nothing less.” The Bombers got started on the 2014 season as early as possible Monday morning, a season they hope ends with a gold ball. In the first year of the new Class 6A Division II, Midwest City is an immediate contender for a state title, and that was the attitude as camp began Monday. “Our expectations are win or bust,” senior defensive back Roscoe Gatewood said. “If we don’t win, we’ll be extremely disappointed in our season. We’ve been preparing to go win and that’s the only thing on our mind.” NORMAN OPENING SEASON WITH QB COMPETITION As Norman High opens fall practice on Tuesday morning, the Tigers will begin their search for a new starting quarterback. Coach Greg Nation says seniors Levi Frederickson and Travis Houck, and junior Travis Degrate will compete for the job. “They all bring different strengths and weaknesses as far as what they can do at the position,” Nation said. “It’s wide open right now and I think the competition as we start practice will be a good thing for us. Good competition brings a better team.” Norman also must replace leading rusher Dupree Young, who had over 1,000 yards last season. Nation says senior Darius Manning is expected to become the primary running back with junior Ty Smith also playing a significant role in the Tigers’ run-first offense. MOORE OPENS WITH EXCITEMENT AT MIDNIGHT Moore coach Paul Hix could feel the excitement Sunday night around Moore Stadium. It’s why he wanted the Lions to have a Midnight Madness to kick off his first season as head coach. And it was quite the spectacle. Fans turned out to watch the team practice for 90 minutes. There were also three food trucks inside the stadium until midnight. “It’s just trying to kick-start some excitement,” Hix said. “We don’t have a tremendous winning season last year to build off of, so we’re trying to fabricate our own excitement and our own energy. We talk a lot about trying to practice and so we just wanted to bring people out and have a buzz about what was going on tonight and maybe kick-start these guys for practice.” Moore went 1-9 last season and has not made the playoffs since 2005 or finished with a winning record since 2004. Hix replaced Todd Watters, who was let go following his second season with the Lions. Hix spent the past four seasons as Stillwater’s offensive coordinator. FALL SPORTS MEDIA DAY SET FOR WEDNESDAY, AUG. 20 The Oklahoman’s annual Fall Sports Media Day has been set for Wednesday, Aug. 20, and this year it will be featured at a new location. The event will be held at McGuinness High School beginning at 3:30 p.m. and ending at 7:30. The school is located at 801 N.W. 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Each Oklahoma City-area high school participating in football, fastpitch softball, cross country, volleyball and fall baseball is encouraged to bring athletes to meet The Oklahoman’s high school coverage team for interviews, videos and photos that will be used throughout the upcoming season. Athletic directors will receive a letter with further information. EDMOND NORTH’S REEDER TIES FOR THIRD AT ‘BIG I’ Edmond North golfer and Oklahoma State commitment Tyson Reeder finished tied for third at one of the nation’s top junior tournaments, the annual Trusted Choice Big I National Championship. Reeder was 4 over par over four rounds at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W.Va., eight shots behind winner Keenan Huskey of Greenville, S.C.
Aug 11, 2014
With nine years of experience as a tight end in the National Football League, becoming an assistant at an established Class 5A or 6A program was an obvious option for the former Westmoore and Oklahoma State standout. Instead, Bajema chose to join former OSU teammate Rashaun Woods’ rebuilding project at Class 3A John Marshall.
High schools: Former NFL tight end Billy Bajema joins John Marshall staff
By Trent Shadid, Staff Writer | Aug 11, 2014When Billy Bajema decided he would return to the Oklahoma City area this year to coach high school football, he had plenty of options. With nine years of experience as a tight end in the National Football League, becoming an assistant at an established Class 5A or 6A program was an obvious option for the former Westmoore and Oklahoma State standout. Instead, Bajema chose to join former OSU teammate Rashaun Woods’ rebuilding project at Class 3A John Marshall. “I like the idea of coming here with Rashaun because of what he wants to do with the program,” said Bajema, who spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, San Diego Chargers, and Baltimore Ravens during his playing career. “He’s about not only coaching football, but trying to make a difference in their lives and that’s something I want to do as well.” Bajema and Woods spent three seasons together in Stillwater, including playing significant roles in Cowboys’ offense during back-to-back bowl appearances in 2002-03. Woods, a first-round pick by the 49ers in 2004 after a record-setting career at OSU as a receiver, inherited a John Marshall team coming off a 0-10 season in 2012. “Back then, nobody came prepared or anything,” said junior offensive and defensive lineman Jeremiah Patton. “There wasn’t really any effort. Everyone was out here playing around. When Coach Woods got here, we started getting everything we need to be prepared. He’s showed us how we need to be to be successful.” In 2013, the Bears improved to 4-6 in Woods’ first season and remained in playoff contention until a loss in their final game. “As coaches, we’re excited about seeing how far these players can go,” Bajema said. “Physically they are capable, but they’ve got to continually learn the technique of football better. It’s a challenge to them and us, but we feel like the sky is the limit.” Bajema will be coaching the offensive and defensive line alongside former Texas A&M and Alabama State offensive lineman Tango McCauley, who is a John Marshall graduate. McCauley spent six years playing in the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League from 2003-08. “Having these type of coaches out here, it’s pretty much everything I could ask for,” Patton said. “They’re helping make me a much more confident player because I know everything I need to be doing to be the player I want to be. “We want to let every team we play know that John Marshall is here to be successful and work to get to the top. We want to show people that this isn’t that 0-10 team anymore.”
Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy said Tyreek Hill took "biggest step" forward at Saturday scrimmageAug 9, 2014
STILLWATER — One of Tyreek Hill’s teammates said the first-year Cowboy had a run during Saturday’s scrimmage that “was almost like one of those high school plays.” Start near one sideline. Reverse all the way across the field. Dart up the other sideline. “Coach Singleton about threw his hat off,” wide receiver David Glidden said. […]
Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy said Tyreek Hill took "biggest step" forward at Saturday scrimmage
Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 9, 2014[img url=https://blog.newsok.com/dittocontent/uploads/sites/11/2014/08/eadb33695009719746ee837c41532ed7.jpg]3203668[/img] STILLWATER — One of Tyreek Hill’s teammates said the first-year Cowboy had a run during Saturday’s scrimmage that “was almost like one of those high school plays.” Start near one sideline. Reverse all the way across the field. Dart up the other sideline. “Coach Singleton about threw his hat off,” wide receiver David Glidden said. “At the same time, I don’t know if (Hill) got touched. He probably would have scored.” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Hill’s performance was “the biggest step that he’s taken” through summer and fall camp. “When (Hill) was out there with us in the spring, and I said this, he was still a track guy playing football,” Gundy said. “He showed some signs today of a football player playing football. So I thought it was a really good scrimmage for him.” The things that stuck out to Gundy on Saturday? Hill fully exerting his energy throughout the 131-play scrimmage, and then returning to the field with the same amount of drive. And Hill’s dedication to refining technical aspects of his potential role next season, like run blocking and route running. Glidden said he’s also watched Hill progress in those areas and others, including communication with his coaches and teammates. “When he came in, (Hill) was kind of a shyer guy … but he’s opened up,” Glidden said. “I think he’s starting to feel really comfortable around here with his coaches and his other teammates. We’re trying to make him feel at home.”
Aug 9, 2014
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy announced Saturday that three players who began summer camp as walk-ons have been given scholarships: Senior punter Kip Smith, senior fullback Teddy Johnson and junior quarterback Daxx Garman.
Oklahoma State football notebook: Daxx Garman among three walk-ons given scholarships
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON AND JOHN HELSLEY | Aug 9, 2014Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy announced Saturday that three players who began summer camp as walk-ons have been given scholarships: Senior punter Kip Smith, senior fullback Teddy Johnson and junior quarterback Daxx Garman. “We have a great program here that we’re very proud of,” Gundy said. “I’m going to venture out to guess that we put more walk-ons on scholarship here than anyone else in this league. They’re treated with great respect and they get all the same opportunities that the scholarship players do, with the exception of tuition.” Smith was the Cowboys’ featured punter and kickoff specialist last season, averaging 40.8 yards per punt and 60 yards per kick. Johnson was a key special teams contributor who makes the switch from linebacker to fullback in 2014. Garman has yet to play for the Cowboys since transferring into the program two years ago from Arizona. But Gundy said last week Garman is preparing to take “10-to-12 snaps” in the opener against Florida State Aug. 30. Gundy spoke at length about how much walk-ons have meant to his program over the past 10 years and remarked at the importance of the wall honoring their efforts near the Cowboys’ locker room. TYREEK HILL TAKES ‘BIGGEST STEP’ One of Tyreek Hill's teammates said the first-year Cowboy had a run during Saturday's scrimmage that "was almost like one of those high school plays.” Start near one sideline. Reverse all the way across the field. Dart up the other sideline. “Coach (Jemal) Singleton about threw his hat off,” wide receiver David Glidden said. “At the same time, I don’t know if (Hill) got touched. He probably would have scored.” Gundy said Hill’s performance was “the biggest step that he’s taken” through summer and fall camp. “When (Hill) was out there with us in the spring, and I said this, he was still a track guy playing football,” Gundy said. “He showed some signs today of a football player playing football. So I thought it was a really good scrimmage for him.” The things that stuck out to Gundy on Saturday? Hill fully exerting his energy throughout the 131-play scrimmage, and then returning to the field with the same amount of drive. And Hill’s dedication to refining technical aspects of his potential role next season, like run blocking and route running. Glidden said he’s also watched Hill progress in those areas and others, including communication with his coaches and teammates. “When he came in, (Hill) was kind of a shyer guy … but he’s opened up," Glidden said. “I think he’s starting to feel really comfortable around here with his coaches and his other teammates. We’re trying to make him feel at home.” JONES TAKES IN SCRIMMAGE Cowboys recruit Ronald Jones II had dual reason to be in Stillwater on Saturday. First and foremost, he was there to help his sister — a journalism student — move back on campus. But the trip also offered the premium running back prospect from Texas a look into OSU’s offense during Saturday’s scrimmage. Jones took in the action with his family following a week in which he further confirmed his commitment to the Cowboys. The four-star back visited Texas A&M, but told Rivals.com that he was firm to OSU and didn’t plan to take any more official visits. Jones has also been actively recruiting other prospects to join him in Stillwater. Considered one of the nation’s top running backs, Jones is coming off a junior season at McKinney North in which he ran for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per carry. SPENCER: THE CLOCK IS TICKING No stats or details were revealed on Saturday’s scrimmage, but interviews following suggested a good day by the offense. “I think the offense did a great job and the defense still needs work,” said Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. “It’s a good thing this was the first scrimmage and we have more left and we get a chance to improve.” Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said there were no surprises – which wasn’t necessarily a good thing. “I saw exactly what I would expect, probably,” Spencer said, “but it’s not what I want. What I saw doesn’t make me feel good.” Three weeks remain until OSU faces No. 1 Florida State. “There’s a big gap we have to close between now and the 30th,” Spencer said. “I told (the players) afterwards, ‘Get ready to be coached hard. Get ready for it.’ “And they were all shaking their heads. They want to be good. Now some of them have to realize what it takes to get good. And that’s our job as coaches. “The bar’s not going to come down to them. So we have to figure out how to get them up to the bar.”
Aug 6, 2014
With the help of strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass, Grogan said he put himself through an intensive offseason workout plan that focused on strengthening specific muscle groups.
Oklahoma State football: Ben Grogan expects better field-goal results in 2014
By Kyle Fredrickson | Aug 6, 2014STILLWATER — When Mike Gundy was asked for his assessment of special teams play last season, he didn’t dance around the question. “We weren’t as good kicking field goals as we wanted to be,” Gundy said. Oklahoma State missed seven in 2013. The distance on those missed kicks: 49 (blocked), 44, 23, 43 (blocked), 31, 32 and 34 yards. Ben Grogan knows that equals 21 missed points. They mark the lowest moments of his up-and-down freshman season kicking for the Cowboys last year. “Obviously, I would rather have done better on bad days,” Grogan said post-practice on Tuesday. “But having that year helped me in the offseason to remember I can’t take it for granted.” For Grogan, a former standout at Arlington Martin (Texas) High School, it was a matter of experience and comfort. He went from training mostly by himself over the summer to kicking off against Mississippi State in the opener within a four-week span, Grogan said. That’s not a lot of time to mesh and practice with a new holder and long snapper while handling the pressures of the Big 12 stage. And it showed early on. Grogan’s first collegiate field-goal attempt was blocked. He also missed two kicks against West Virginia; valuable points left on the field as the then No. 11 ranked Cowboys lost 30-21. It’s not that Grogan thinks about that game often, but he doesn’t want to completely forget, either. “Maybe when I’m in the weight room or something, that’s something to push me a little bit,” Grogan said. “That’s not going away. So I’ve got to make sure I keep working, so that doesn’t happen again.” With the help of strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass, Grogan said he put himself through an intensive offseason workout plan that focused on strengthening specific muscle groups. “Having the core and hip strength are probably the two most important things,” Grogan said. “It’s all about having stability and power from your hips. That’s where I get all my power from.” A typical off-season training session was an hour run, then an hour in the gym. Grogan also takes 20 to 30 kicks before practice and then participates in team drills, he said. It’s a workout schedule he hopes will prevent his leg from getting “worn down,” like he said it did late last season. “The development in the weight room has been an important key for (Grogan), and he’s stronger,” Gundy said. “So he should have more confidence.” And Grogan has shown he can be productive. His best performance last season came at home against Kansas State, when he knocked in four field goals — a team freshman record. Grogan also said he has developed a stronger connection with his long snapper, Kaleb Smith, and holder, Kip Smith, through the offseason. It all comes back to Grogan’s desire to consistently be a difference maker in Cowboy victories, and not the scapegoat for losses. “Being on my own for the offseason as opposed to being with them, it’s definitely a big difference,” Grogan said. “Having the equipment and then also the coaching, it’s helped me get to where I need to be.”
Aug 5, 2014
The starter for the Florida State opener in Arlington has yet to be announced. But the conversation shifted from “if JW Walsh will start,” to “how much time will Daxx Garman really play?”
Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy says he's got 'a heck of a quarterback battle going'
BY KYLE FREDRICKSON, Staff Writer | Aug 5, 2014Fans waited patiently in padded-metal chairs for him to arrive on stage. With the season opener less than a month away, a few hundred shifted excitedly to talk Oklahoma State football with coach Mike Gundy. With microphone in hand, Gundy spent nearly 15 minutes of his spotlight at the 2014 Cowboys Caravan inside the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Tuesday night breaking down different position groups. Then, he said this: “We have a heck of a quarterback battle going.” That was a hot topic Tuesday in Stillwater. The Cowboy quarterback depth chart didn’t change, as the starter for the Florida State opener in Arlington has yet to be announced. But the conversation shifted from “if JW Walsh will start,” to “how much time will Daxx Garman really play?” Gundy told reporters after a morning practice that Garman — a 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior — is preparing as if he will take “10-to-12 snaps” when OSU faces the Seminoles on national TV Aug. 30. Gundy, assistant coaches and teammates have raved about Garman’s arm strength. Even Brandon Weeden. The former OSU quarterback told The Oklahoman in March that Garman impressed when he visited spring camp. But while there’s much to like about Garman, who transferred to OSU from Arizona in 2012, much is unknown about his skill set. Because Garman hasn’t started a fall football game with any real meaning since the 2009 season. That’s the year he was a junior quarterback at Jones High School, northeast of Oklahoma City, and finished the season with 2,500 yards passing and 26 touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his throws. Garman transferred to Southlake Carroll High School, a powerhouse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for his senior season but didn’t play because of transfer eligibility issues. Other than spring showcases, Garman hasn’t appeared in a college football game since. He was redshirted at Arizona and has been deep on the OSU depth chart the past two seasons. Now, he might be asked to play against the returning national champions in his first collegiate matchup. If what Gundy suggests takes place in the opener, it’s hard to believe Garman would be the starter. The Cowboys averaged about 75 offensive plays per game last season, so 10-to-12 snaps would take less than 20 percent of the entire game plan. Or, considering the challenge Florida State presents, Gundy’s assessment of Garman’s use in the opener might lean toward the side of gamesmanship, rather than fact. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich wouldn’t go into detail as to who had the most repetitions at practice Tuesday. He instead praised all three of his quarterbacks for their work this fall. “All three are looking good,” Yurcich said. “Daxx is doing a great job with the reps that he’s getting, JW is getting better every day it seems. The young rookie, Rudolph, is really doing good as well. So all three have their strong points and it’s fun to go and coach them every day.” Gundy said his ideal depth chart resembles the 2011 OSU roster, when Weeden was the unquestioned leader and backup Clint Chelf had proven in late blowout victories that he could be plugged into the offense and be productive. Based on Gundy’s potential strategy to use multiple quarterbacks this season, it’s clear he doesn’t have the luxury of that scenario in 2014. “I would always prefer to say, ‘OK, here’s our guy.’ And then (the backup) is prepared to play, but the other guy is clearly more mature and better at this point,” Gundy said. “But if something happened, (the backup) could make a play. I think that’s my best-case scenario … If you have guys that can bring something different to the table — that’s what we have right now — then I’m a little reluctant to just disregard that (multiple look) aspect of it.”
Aug 2, 2014
On a young team entering the season, the junior from Mustang has grown since his freshman year that saw the Cowboys play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma State football Q&A: Mustang's David Glidden embracing leadership role
BY JACOB UNRUH | Aug 2, 2014STILLWATER — Oklahoma State’s David Glidden is now a veteran. On a young team entering the season, the junior from Mustang has grown since his freshman year that saw the Cowboys play Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. Now he’s expected to become a leader for OSU this season, and he's embraced that role entering the season. Glidden talked with The Oklahoman about his role, the team’s wide receivers and more at Saturday’s Media Day. Q: With such a young team, what are you doing to show improved leadership? A: I’ve always been a guy that believes you lead by example more than your word. A lot of guys can go out there and do the hoorah stuff and everything, but your action is what shows up the most. I try to do the little things, running on the field in between the white lines. You’re always running instead of walking. Anytime guys look like they’re lost and looking for something to do, I’m more of a guy to pull somebody aside and if they look down try to pick them up and encourage them. With all of the experience returning at receiver, how does the unit look so far? Special. Very talented. We don’t have any seniors that are coming back. The guys are experienced. Jhajuan (Seales) and (Austin) Hays, he missed last year but he knows the offense in and out like a lot of these guys do. All of these guys are smart but at the same time we’re still just learning. Overall, I’d say it’s about as talented of a group I’ve seen since I’ve been here. My first year we got here, (Justin) Blackmon and those guys were here in the Fiesta Bowl year. It’s going to be a special group. How are the roles more defined this season at receiver? We’re stacked all the way through, inside and out. You can list the names forever, but the guys on the inside, most of them are experienced. We’re talented all the way through. What have you seen from J.W. Walsh and the rest of the quarterbacks? I think all of them are doing a great job. J.W’s a good friend of mine and we’ve been roommates and stuff like that. They’ve all been out there competing every day and they all look great. Mike Gundy said there’s a good possibility multiple quarterbacks play. Is there an adjustment to that for you as a receiver? I don’t think so. We practice with them all every day. We just go out there and run our route and we’ve got to be in the right place and hopefully they can count on us to be in the right place. Gundy also said Mason Rudolph has shown improvement since the spring. Have you noticed that? I think he’s making strides every day. I can tell you from the first day I had practice with him, he seemed like any kid would. He was still supposed to be in high school. He’s made a lot of strides, a lot of improvements and he’s gotten a lot better.
Aug 1, 2014
O’Neal was originally a tight end at Oklahoma State. He was moved to the defensive line by Week 5 of his sophomore season.
Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame: Leslie O'Neal's 'coming out party' came against No. 1 Nebraska
By John Helsley | Aug 1, 2014Leslie O’Neal played tight end much of his freshman season at Oklahoma State. Tight end. By Week 5 of his sophomore year in 1983, O’Neal was starting on the defensive line – against No. 1 Nebraska. “The coming out party for O’Neal,” said Pat Jones, who was OSU’s defensive coordinator at the time. O’Neal remembers it well. The week of the game, Cowboys coaches specially prepared O’Neal for the matchup with the Cornhuskers, the nation’s No. 1 team, a squad featuring Mike Rozier and Turner Gill and Irving Fryer and Dean Steinkuhler and already gracing a Sports Illustrated cover for routing Penn State in the season opener. “This was a Nebraska team that was supposed to just beat up on everybody,” O’Neal said. The Cowboys, and O’Neal in particular, weren’t up for a beating. “One of the coaches went out and got this guy who was over 300 pounds, was in the band or something,” O’Neal said. “And they got this guy to practice against me, so I would get accustomed to playing against these really big guys. “I went out and had a great game.” The Cowboys lost, although just 14-10, with Nebraska intercepting a pass in the end zone on the final play of the game. No team would play the Huskers tighter, until they lost 31-30 to Miami in an Orange Bowl Classic. And no Cowboy left a better impression on Nebraska than O’Neal, who launched an All-American and All-Pro career that October day in Stillwater, totaling 21 tackles from a tackle spot to spearhead OSU’s great defensive effort. Now 50, O’Neal will be recognized Monday when he’s inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. It’s been a long time since he left OSU as the 1986 first round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers. But O’Neal said the memories are good. And getting better. “It’s just a great honor,” O’Neal, who still makes his home in San Diego, said of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame nod. “To me, it says that there are enough people who felt good about what I did as a football player at Oklahoma State. And I played at a level for which they want to honor me forever. And that’s the thing that makes it so phenomenal.” The Cowboys pulled O’Neal out of Arkansas, a premium recruit who was from the same high school as Jones – Little Rock Hall – although the connection played little part in process. “Butch Davis did a great job recruiting him,” said Jones, who will be O’Neal’s presenter Monday night. O’Neal weight just 218 pounds when he arrived at OSU, one reason he didn’t immediately settle on the defensive line. “He was a sleek guy who could run,” Jones said. But O’Neal grew. And so did his reputation, beginning with his own team. “He’s so smart,” Jones said. “And he was such a hard worker, in the same mold as (Thurman) Thomas and (Barry) Sanders and those guys, that elite type of athlete who is also smart and gifted. He got it. He was in great condition. “When he spoke, the rest of them listened, because they respected him. They respected his work habits and they respected his intellect.” Respect for O’Neal quickly expanded. He was voted All-Big Eight three straight years, 1983, ’84 and ’85, and was named Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year in ’84. He was a two-time All-American. O’Neal still holds the OSU record for sacks in a season (16) and career (34), despite playing at a time when rushing offenses ruled the conference. The No. 8 pick in the 1986 Draft, O’Neal was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and went on to make six Pro Bowl rosters during a 13-year career that included stints with the Rams and Chiefs, along with the Chargers. O’Neal’s 1321/2 career sacks still rank tied for 10th all-time in the NFL – tied with Lawrence Taylor. “The sacks are where you get the notoriety,” O’Neal said, “but to be honest I loved playing the run. You can go out and just play the run and make 10 tackles. I loved getting the passer, but I always prided myself on being able to play the pass and the run, too. Play every down. “It’s kind of a lost art.” O’Neal doesn’t get back to Stillwater often, yet he said he carries the best of memories for his time there. “Oh my goodness, it was great,” he said. “I had a great time. We didn’t have great success the first year, but then we turned it around and went to three straight bowls. “I’ve been back and seen the stadium changes, haven’t seen a game. I’m hoping to get back this year. It’s been so long, it would be nice to walk in there.” Back where the O’Neal legend began. OSU hasn’t been able to match up their best offenses and defenses often. The Cowboys have seemingly had one or the other. During O’Neal’s time, the offenses were solid, not sensational. But the defenses were some of the best in OSU history. A gauge: from 1983-85, Nebraska didn’t score a rushing touchdown against the Cowboys. And the Huskers ran, seemingly at will, on everybody. But not OSU. And not on that 1983 day in Stillwater, when Leslie O’Neal held his coming out party. The announcement came early, too, when he dropped Rozier for a 2-yard loss on Nebraska’s first play from scrimmage. And even as the Huskers took notice, eventually using center Mark Traynowicz and guard Harry Grimminger on regular double-teams, O’Neal kept charging, with 10 of his 21 tackles going unassisted. He finished with three tackles for losses, one sack and a fumble recovery. “What O’Neal did to them kind of became an epic on film,” Jones said. “I mean, that was probably the most I’d ever seen a Nebraska lineman abused. And with a good team. They were the best offensive team that had ever been in college. “It was a 14-10 game and they were lucky to beat us, with as good as they were. We were good. And that’s when we really started realizing how good we were defensively. “That was the first sign of what O’Neal was all about. And what he was to become.”
Jul 31, 2014
With OSU football on the verge of losing two hours of practice time a week due to inadequate academic progress, someone in the athletic department discovered a 1990s-era walk-on who unknowingly redeemed the Cowboys by keeping a promise.
Oklahoma State football: The old Cowboy who saved OSU from an NCAA sanction
By Kyle Fredrickson, Staff Writer | Jul 31, 2014MOORE — He couldn’t believe the TV report. So he picked up his remote to rewind and start from the beginning. The former Oklahoma State wide receiver heard the news late Tuesday as he relaxed at home after another day at the office. He and his longtime girlfriend had just finished a grilled chicken dinner and were sitting on a living room loveseat. The NCAA was dropping its penalty against the OSU football team for poor academics over the past four years, the reporter said. The Cowboys no longer faced a two-hour practice cut from their weekly schedule this season. Great news, hopefully I can get tickets for the opener, Larry Mahsetky thought. He loved that live college football atmosphere. It reminded him of the glory days playing for coach Pat Jones. The TV report continued. Academic records from a 1990s-era football player had not been included in OSU’s original report that led to the sanctions. That player had only recently graduated, giving the Cowboys a needed grades boost to meet the NCAA’s minimum academic requirement. No way. Mahsetky looked over to his girlfriend. He said she called it from the start. But really, how many people could have played OSU football in the 1990s, but graduated less than four years ago? Just one. Larry Mahsetky. He’s the man whose academic achievements gave his alma mater two more hours of practice each week this season. The man who will forever be remembered for his contributions to the program — nothing to do with anything he’s ever done on the playing field. By returning to school more than 20 years after he first stepped into a college classroom, the 41-year-old might have changed the course of a college football season. “Getting OSU out of NCAA sanctions,” Mahsetky said, “is just icing on the cake.” The only thing Mahsetky really cared about through the whole process? Keeping a promise to his mother. Tommy Boy route Mahsetky first arrived on campus in Stillwater as a freshman in 1991. At 6-foot-1 and barely 180 pounds, he fit the bill as a walk-on wide receiver for a Cowboy football team that won just four games the year before. Mahsetky was a standout at Westmoore High School, earning all-conference, all-district and Oklahoman All-City honors. He could have played on scholarship at a number of small schools in the state, but he grew up idolizing the heroics of Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes. Mahsetky always dreamt of being a Cowboy. He played for OSU from 1991 to 1995. Coach Pat Jones put Mahsetky on scholarship after he shined in the 1992 spring game. But Mahsetky wanted to be a sports broadcaster someday and even interned at KWTV under the late Bill Teegins for two summers. But everything changed in the spring of 1996. That’s when Mahsetky received a job offer from an information technology company in Austin. It wasn’t in broadcast journalism and he was just a few classes away from graduation. But the move and the pay was too good to pass up. However, not everyone close to Mahsetky agreed. “After five years of being in school and being three classes short of graduation, my mother was not happy at all,” Mahsetky said. “But I gave her my word that I would go back and graduate.” Mahetsky worked in Texas the next 13 years for various technology companies but returned to Oklahoma in 2008 for another business venture. By 2011, he was speaking with OSU counselors about how to finish his degree. By the fall of 2012, he was enrolled in classes at Oklahoma City Community College that would transfer as OSU credit. Native-American Studies, algebra and another history course; with his aspirations as a broadcast journalist long gone, all he needed was passing grades in those three courses to complete a university studies degree. “When I walked into class for the first time,” Mahsetky said. “They thought I was the professor.” As the old-guy persona wore off, Mahsetky got to work. For the first time in more than 20 years, he was calculating algebra equations as homework, reading history textbooks and studying for final exams. By December, he had passed all three courses with ease. Promise fulfilled. “I want this to be motivation for other people out there, young and old,” Mahsetky said. “You can go back out there and finish your degree no matter how late in time that it is ... I took the Tommy Boy route, you could say.” Scavenger hunt The series of events that led to the NCAA relinquishing its penalty against the OSU football program had to be exact, making it all the more unlikely. Had Mahsetky earned his diploma as he returned to Oklahoma in 2008 or if he were still in classes today, the sanctions would likely remain in place. Had Jones not put Mahsetky on scholarship, his academic record wouldn’t impact the athletic department’s current standing. But the good timing doesn’t stop there. The NCAA penalized OSU because its football team failed to meet academic standards, known as Academic Progress Rate (APR), when averaged over a four-year period. The APR is a sport-based metric built on two factors for each scholarship athlete per term: eligibility (1 point) and retention (1 point). Athletes can earn as many four points for their program in any given year, according to the NCAA. The Cowboys needed a 930 score to pass in 2014. They posted a 929.41. So when the punishment dropped in May, the OSU compliance office went on a scavenger hunt of sorts. All they needed was a single point to get those two hours of practice time back. That meant countless hours of studying old football rosters and graduation lists — hoping to catch something they missed in October when OSU’s initial academic reports were sent to the NCAA. And the department had reason to be hopeful. Kevin Fite, senior associate athletic director for compliance, said a “records-keeping issue” prevents former OSU student athletes before 1999 from being flagged in its institutional system. That’s where Mahsetky’s timing comes in. APR guidelines award a single point if a scholarship student athlete leaves his or her institution without graduating and then comes back to earn a diploma later on. The point is applied to the school’s APR score for the term in which that person graduates, not when he or she was last a scholarship athlete, according to NCAA bylaws. So, back to the scavenger hunt. About a month ago, Fite said a senior staffer was pouring over anything that could have been missed because of the gap in the system. And then suddenly — jackpot. “A staff member, who has been here a long time, saw a graduation roll and said, ‘Hey, that guy’s a football player,’” Fite said. “We were able to go to our bursar’s office and determined he was on aid. And we basically catch an extra point.” Fite would not provide the football player’s name, citing federal privacy laws, but did say the player was a fall 2012 graduate. The Oklahoman confirmed the player was Mahsetky by comparing 1990s-era OSU football media guide rosters to an online database of fall 2012 OSU graduates. Roughly 400 names were entered before “Mahsetky” provided a match. A quick internet search found his employer. When contacted and asked if he was the player in question, even Mahsetky didn’t know. He had suspicions it might be him after the news report but had since brushed it off. So Mahsetky called OSU compliance to find out. Sure enough, he was the guy. “It does have some impact on some people and it does feel good,” Mahsetky said. “I never thought I would be in this position.” Gift for mom Mahsetky didn’t walk across the stage for graduation back in December 2012. It just didn’t seem necessary. He told his mother, Susie Carey, he had finished. But that was it. “I thought, that’s great,” Carey said. “But I want to see the diploma.” On a cool July evening this week, mother and son sat together just outside Moore in Carey’s backyard near a newly installed pool to reflect on the moment it all came together. A few months after graduation, the large white envelope came in the mail with a “DO NOT BEND” sticker plastered the front. “I opened it up and sure enough, it was this diploma sitting right here,” Mahsetky said, holding up the now framed document. “And I cried,” Carey added. Mahsetky won’t attempt to embellish his football career. In his words, he “did not contribute much on the field.” What he takes most from his experience as a Cowboy football player are the friendships and the memories — locker room chats with the likes of Daryl “Boogie” Johnson, Jay Grosfield, Ronnie Fisher and Jevon Langford; a 12-0 Bedlam victory in 1995; and the list goes on. Today, Mahsetky is the marketing director for the Whitten Newman Family Foundation, a non-profit based in downtown Oklahoma City. He oversees a number of charitable organizations that help everyone from impoverished children of war in Africa to Native American students in Oklahoma. Mahsetky said he’s looking forward to game days in Stillwater this fall. He understands it’s possible his role in OSU receiving more practice time might make him a sort-of celebrity among fans. So what will happen if he’s offered a free beer as thanks while tailgating? “Not a beer, I don’t drink anymore,” Mahsetky laughed. “But I would definitely take some cheese fries from Eskimo Joe’s.” Carey said she’s obviously proud of her son and echoed his statement that his story should be proof that age shouldn’t dictate educational goals. Now, she has a constant reminder. When Mahsetky received the diploma, he knew exactly where to place it. “I’ve got it nicely framed in my mother’s house, in her office,” Mahsetky said. “I gave it to her.”
Jul 30, 2014
All eyes will be on the Midwest City defense. The Bombers return a combination of size and speed that will be hard for most teams to match.
High school football: District 6A-II-2 preview
By Scott Wright | Jul 30, 2014Lawton is coming off an impressive 11-1 season, but Midwest City was the coaches’ pick as the favorite in District 6A-II-2. And it all starts with the Bomber defense. One of the best defenses in all of Class 6A last year, Midwest City returns a combination of size and speed that will be hard for most teams to match. Five of the Bombers’ 11 defensive starters already have college scholarship offers, led by one of the state’s top prospects, Will Sunderland. Defensive backs Roscoe Gatewood and Aaron McKinney have offers as well. But success starts up front for the Bombers, with players such as Dejai Johnson and DeMikal Harrison. “Our D-line keeps so much pressure on offenses that it allows other aspects of our defense to shine,” coach Darrell Hall said. “We are big, fast, strong and smart.” MESERVY TAKES OVER AT QB There are plenty of big names on the Lawton offense, like lineman Jalin Barnett, running back Darreyl Patterson and receiver Kalin Sadler. But it’s another college prospect who is stepping into the quarterback role. Jack Meservy, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, has attracted attention from programs like Yale and Penn because of his combination of talent and academic strengths. CHOCTAW’S LLANUSA GAINING ATTENTION Heading into his senior season, Choctaw’s Jonah Llanusa is climbing recruiting lists as he continues to show his ability as a dual-threat quarterback. A year ago, iIn his first season under coach Todd Dilbeck, Llanusa threw for 2,187 yards and rushed for 621. He has already received a scholarship offer from Navy, with programs like OU, OSU, Tulsa, Kansas State and New Mexico showing interest in the athletic 6-foot-1, 200-pounder. Look for him to build on his connection with receiver Jacob Rapp, who caught 93 passes last season. ENID’S ARANA IS ONE TO WATCH In a class full of big offensive linemen, Enid’s Estevan Arana can match up with just about any of them. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound senior is on the radar of multiple Division I schools and will play a key role in the Plainsmen offense that returns quarterback Fred Lawrence and running back Raheem Mitchell. PC WEST’S KING READY TO BREAK OUT Putnam City West proved it can be effective throwing the ball last season, and that could mean big things for receiver Exzavier King. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior caught 44 passes for 496 yards last year, and he has maintained a strong commitment to improving. “He’s a great leader,” coach Rocky Martin said. “He hasn’t missed a workout in the last two years.” EXTRA POINTS The Stillwater offense will rely heavily on the connection of quarterback Braxton Noble, and electric wide receiver Brandon Prather... Lawton Eisenhower is the only team in the district with a new coach, having hired Danny Edelman to replace Boone Copeland... Each team in the district will have a bye week in one of the final seven weeks of the season, because U.S. Grant will begin its four-year stretch playing independently of the OSSAA.
Jul 28, 2014
Stephen McClernon showing more confidence at quarterback for Edmond North
High schools: District 6A-I-2 football preview
By Scott Wright and Jacob Unruh | Jul 28, 2014After winning the quarterback battle early last season, Edmond North’s Stephen McClernon sometimes struggled to gain his footing. Now entering this season, coach Scott Burger said the senior quarterback has grown during the offseason. “Stephen has gotten a lot better from last year,” Burger said. “He’s more familiar with the offense. You can tell his confidence level increased as the season went on, and having a whole year under his belt will help him.” McClernon completed 147 of 256 passes for 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, but he also threw 11 interceptions while helping the Huskies to a 7-5 record and the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. Burger thinks he’s shown potential in the offseason to be even better this season. “I tell those kids at quarterback they need to be the coach on the field, they need to see what I see,” he said. “When we watch film, he’s seeing that. He’s got the ability to change to another play if he needs to now, which he probably didn’t feel comfortable doing that earlier this year.” GARRETT READY TO LEAD MUSTANG Back in February, Chandler Garrett decided it was time to fully focus on his future as a football player. So the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Garrett, then a sophomore, gave up his spot as a regularly used reserve on the Mustang basketball team to commit himself to becoming a better quarterback. Now a junior, Garrett is ready to improve on last season’s numbers of 1,683 passing yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions as only a part-time starter. He shared the job with Frankie Edwards, who has now graduated, and Garrett has it all to himself heading into coach Jeremy Dombek’s second season with the Broncos. “This year is a lot different than it was last year when I was coming in behind Frankie,” Garrett said. “We’re going to miss him and all those seniors a lot. “I decided I needed to focus on my craft here, rather than in basketball.” Mustang lost some talented receivers, but Garrett and senior David Parker have a strong connection. Parker caught 35 passes for 457 yards and three touchdowns last year. SOUTHMOORE COUNTING ON EXPERIENCE With former defensive coordinator Jeremy Stark taking over as Southmoore’s new head coach, you can expect the SaberCats to have a defensive focus. And with players like 6-4, 265-pound Bobby Henry and 6-4, 245-pound Dakota Troglin — both Division I prospects — size will play an important role. And though Southmoore graduated some key players at running back and receiver, the offense has an experienced quarterback in the huddle. Connor Uselton is only a sophomore, but he gained significant experience as a freshman starter. RUNNING GAME A THREAT FOR NORMAN NORTH, TOO With his verbal commitment to Oklahoma State back in the spring, Norman North quarterback John Kolar suddenly grabbed the spotlight on the Timberwolves’ offense. But don’t forget about running back Quan Hogan and a talented offensive line that was loaded with sophomores a year ago. Hogan, a junior who already has an offer from Tulsa, proved to be a threat carrying the ball or catching it out of the backfield, rushing for 1,003 yards to go with 830 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns. EXTRA POINTS Give Tulsa Union the award for the toughest non-district schedule. After opening with Texas power Southlake Carroll, the Redskins face rivals Jenks and Broken Arrow... After serving as the team’s offensive coordinator last year, Rod Richardson will have some important pieces in place when he begins his first season as Putnam City North’s head coach, starting with returning quarterback Chase Sparks... Owasso coach Bill Patterson calls defensive end Michael Anderson “One of the best defensive players to put on a Ram uniform in several years.”... New coach Paul Hix will have a unique turnaround job at Moore. The former Stillwater offensive coordinator brings a pass-heavy background to a team that has been focusing on the run game the last few years. District 6A-I-2 coaches’ poll 1. Tulsa Union (11-3) 2. Norman North (7-4) 3. Owasso (5-6) 4. Southmoore (6-4) 5. Edmond North (7-5) (tie) Mustang (7-5) 7. Putnam City North (4-6) 8. Moore (1-9) *Note: Last year’s records in parentheses
Jul 28, 2014
Among all the storylines surrounding the 2014 Oklahoma State football team, one position group has avoided the question-mark label and is being hyped as a strength entering the season: wide receivers.
Oklahoma State football: Q&A with wide receivers coach Jason Ray
By Kyle Fredrickson | Jul 28, 2014STILLWATER — Among all the storylines surrounding the 2014 Oklahoma State football team, one position group has avoided the question-mark label and is being hyped as a strength entering the season: wide receivers. And for good reason. The Cowboys return two wideouts — Jhajuan Seales and Austin Hays — who were featured as starters last season and five others — Marcell Ateman, C.J. Curry, David Glidden, Brandon Sheperd and Blake Webb — with plenty of game experience. It’s Jason Ray’s job to see those players live up to lofty expectations. Ray, in his second season as a wide receivers coach alongside Kasey Dunn, took some time to reflect upon 2013 and look forward to this season while at the 2014 Cowboy Football Media Golf Outing at Karsten Creek last week: Q: What is your overall impression of the wide receivers group you have coming back? A: “The talent there is very, very high from an athletic standpoint. The strong-point of our group is the fact that we’re young, and those kids are hungry. They want to be good. They want to play at a high level. They came here to do that. We have a history here at that position. And obviously, the offense is a big-time selling point in recruiting as well. I think our group wants to be good and they want to go make plays, win a game on the line and be doing really well.” Despite having a strong core of returning players with game experience, none are seniors. Who do you expect to fill the leadership roles left open by Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore? “We’re always looking for guys to step up. Naturally, guys who score touchdowns and make a lot of plays, sometimes they are looked at as guys who needs to be a leaders because they have influence. Not always is that the case; there are guys on special teams who can be leaders. “But Jhajuan Seales is a kid that we want to step up as a leader. David Glidden does a heck of a job from a leadership standpoint. Austin Hays, who has had injuries, is now healthy. He has stepped up as a leader. We have certain guys that we need to be vocal and other guys that can go into the locker room, grab their teammates and tell them to pick it up.” Coach Mike Gundy said he expects newcomer Tyreek Hill to play a number of roles on offense this season. Do you think he has the technical skills to thrive as a wide receiver in this system? “I think so. When he was getting recruited, we’d go watch him. I got a chance to see him play twice and practice once. He did both. He did everything from Wildcat, to running back, to receiver. His hands are good. Obviously, you get better as you catch the ball more consistently in practice. And we catch more balls at receiver than he would at running back. He does possess some route-running ability. He’s athletic enough to where he can stick his foot in the ground, change direction and run the routes that we run.” What did you take away from last season? “Obviously, we had a good season. We had a couple games there where we wish the outcome would have been different. And you want to win the bowl game to go out on a high note. But we’re proud of our guys. The record of what Coach Gundy has done in the past five or six years speaks for itself.” Has your experience on this coaching staff been special considering you grew up in Porter? “When I was coming out of high school, Coach Gundy was the receiver’s coach here. Knowing about him, being an Oklahoman himself and the pride that he must have for his alma mater — I’m going to work as hard as I can for him in that sense. There are not a lot of guys who are fortunate enough to coach at their alma mater. I fortunately have the opportunity coach in my home state where I was born and raised. “We’ve got a great staff. It’s fun. From the defensive guys to the guys that I work with on offense, we have fun. That’s what it’s all about. Now that I’ve got one year under my belt, I’m just going to keep having fun and bringing energy out there. But my ultimate goal is to get better as a coach and continue to progress.”
Jul 13, 2014
Especially on defense, new faces are likely to make an immediate impact. On offense, the Cowboys grabbed a few players who could become stars. Here are some new Cowboys to keep an eye on this season.
Oklahoma State football: Six newcomers to watch in 2014
By Cody Stavenhagen, Staff Writer | Jul 13, 2014After losing a 28-player senior class, Oklahoma State goes into the 2014 season with starting positions to fill and many other spots on the depth chart open. Especially on defense, new faces are likely to make an immediate impact. On offense, the Cowboys grabbed a few players who could become stars. Here are some new Cowboys to keep an eye on this season: Josh Mabin, LB A three-star recruit from Klein Oak (Texas) High School, Mabin comes in with college-ready size at 6-2, 227. He also runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, and though he might be more of an inside linebacker prototype, Mabin will be one of several incoming linebackers competing to start on the outside after the Cowboys lost Shaun Lewis and Caleb Lavey to graduation. Gyasi Akem, LB Akem is a four-star recruit from Broken Arrow, and though he’s smaller (6-1, 210) and slower (4.6) than Mabin, he’s known for his physical style and has had a long relationship with the OSU coaching staff. Thrown in Pearland (Texas) recruit Justin Phillips, and the new guys are sure to become familiar in a thin OSU linebacking corps. Josh Furman, S Furman graduated from Michigan in May before transferring to OSU, making him eligible immediately. OSU needs help and experience at safety, and Furman provides just that. He was no star at Michigan, but he started three games for the Wolverines in 2013 and walks into a depth chart situation that should give the 6-foot-2 transfer every opportunity to start at strong safety. Sione Palelei, RB The Louisiana native went under the radar after suffering a season-ending injury early in his senior year, but he has a 4.35 40-yard dash time and enters a backfield looking for a fourth option. With Devon Thomas all but officially out of the picture, Palelei could earn a few carries early in his career. Mason Rudolph, QB The 6-foot-4, 217-pound quarterback from Rock Hill, S.C., enrolled at OSU to compete for a starting job. He wasn’t spectacular in spring practices, but he has a strong arm and underrated mobility. His first season in Stillwater will likely depend on how J.W. Walsh performs, but the OSU coaching staff recruited Rudolph to play, and that time will come. It’s just a matter of when. Tyreek Hill, RB-WR If you don’t already know about him, you should. Hill comes from Garden City Community College, and he already broke OSU records this spring on the track. He brings supreme speed, and proved with highlight plays in the spring that he’s already one of the Cowboys’ top offensive players. Hill will likely play running back, receiver and possibly return kicks.
Jul 5, 2014
The Navy football brotherhood lost one of its most beloved members last weekend when Blake Carter died unexpectedly. Carter, who played at Stillwater High, passed away Sunday, June 29, at his home in Norfolk, Va., where he was serving as a surface warfare officer aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. Carter was a standout defensive back for Navy from 2006 through 2009, appearing in 48...
Former Stillwater High football player Blake Carter dies at 27
Jul 5, 2014The Navy football brotherhood lost one of its most beloved members last weekend when Blake Carter died unexpectedly. Carter, who played at Stillwater High, passed away Sunday, June 29, at his home in Norfolk, Va., where he was serving as a surface warfare officer aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp. Carter was a standout defensive back for Navy from 2006 through 2009, appearing in 48 games with 25 starts. The 5-foot-11, 187-pound cornerback was a four-year varsity letterman on teams that posted a combined record of 35-18, captured the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy four times and appeared in four bowl games.
PIEDMONT: KASEY REIN Athletics: State swimming champion in the 200 individual medley, state runner-up in the 100 backstroke as a senior. Won 500 freestyle and 100 back as a junior, 200 IM and 100 back as a sophomore. Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State. Four-time second-team All-City. State qualifier in track and cross country. Will swim at Evansville. Academics: Weighted grade point average...
2014 Scholar-Athletes: Part 5
BY JENNI CARLSON | Jun 29, 2014PIEDMONT: KASEY REIN Athletics: State swimming champion in the 200 individual medley, state runner-up in the 100 backstroke as a senior. Won 500 freestyle and 100 back as a junior, 200 IM and 100 back as a sophomore. Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State. Four-time second-team All-City. State qualifier in track and cross country. Will swim at Evansville. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.2. Scored 25 on the ACT. National Honor Society. Activities: Science Club. Spanish Club. Key Club. Quote: “Kasey is highly motivated and sets high standards.” — Shelly Thomas, English teacher. College choice: University of Evansville Also nominated: Bre Davis, Jamie Lowrie PUTNAM CITY: GARRETT LENZ Athletics: Varsity baseball for four years, three years as a starter. Also played basketball. Academics: Scored 27 on the ACT. Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Activities: Student council vice president. Spanish and Latino Student Association. Youth Leadership Exchange. Oklahoma City Beautiful. Oklahoma Student Council District 10 vice president. Feed the Children and Dwight Mission Summer Camp volunteer. Quote: “Garrett is the kind of young man I admire. He is intelligent, compassionate, dependable and loves to serve others.” — Pam Simmons, English teacher College choice: Oklahoma State Also nominated: None PUTNAM NORTH: KOOPER TAYLOR Athletics: Captain of the volleyball team as a senior. Winner of team’s Award of Excellence. Captain of OK Charge club volleyball team. Academics: Scored 34 on the ACT. Weighted grade point average of 4.6. Valedictorian. National Honor Society. Academic All-State. OU Academic Scholar. Activities: Four-year class officer. Panther Pals leader. Youth Leadership Oklahoma. Girls State. Hugh O’Brien Leadership Award. Quote: “It is my pleasure to be her teacher as she simply enjoys learning. She is the type of student all teaches wish to have in class.” — Deborah Hill, Spanish teacher and volleyball coach College choice: Oklahoma Also nominated: Blake Harris PUTNAM WEST: RYAN DUNN Athletics: All-District 6A-4 wide receiver in football as a senior. All-conference honoree as well. Selected as team’s offensive player of the year. Three-year varsity starter. Academics: Grade point average of 3.5. Ranked in the top 15 percent of his class. Activities: DECA. Quote: “Ryan has a heart of a lion. He can get anything done he puts his mind to. He studies hard and works even harder for what he wants.” — Sharie Ainsworth, sports medicine teacher College choice: Undecided Also nominated: None SHAWNEE: McKENZIE COOPER Athletics: Member of four state qualifying teams in basketball, including one champion. Second-team All-State and first-team Big All-City as a senior. Second-team Big All-City in softball as a junior. Missed senior season with knee injury. State golf qualifer as a sophomore. Will play basketball at Oklahoma Baptist. Academics: Grade point average of 3.8. National Honor Society. Activities: Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Tri-Hi-Y. First National Bank Student Advisory Board. Quote: “Her attitude is exemplary. She is always ready to learn and help others learn.” — Terri Moore, English teacher College choice: Oklahoma Baptist Also nominated: Daniel Langley, Maddie Rutherford SOUTHEAST: ANTHONY BRYANT Athletics: Honorable mention Big All-City defensive lineman in football as a senior. Received the basketball team’s sportsmanship award. Captain of the football, basketball and track teams as a senior. Will play football at Southern Nazarene. Academics: Grade point average of 3.2. Activities: Senior class treasurer. Business Professionals of America treasurer and historian. Key Club. Yearbook. Quote: “His love of sports has inspired him to work to promote healthy lifestyles and has been instrumental in his plans of becoming a teacher and coach.” — Evon Finklea, counselor College choice: Southern Nazarene Also nominated: Alejandra Amezquita, Daevion Nelson SOUTHMOORE: CASSIDY OLSEN Athletics: Qualifier for the state track meet in the high jump. Holds school record in the high jump. Four years varsity track, two years varsity basketball, one year varsity cheerleading. Academics: Weighted grade point average of 4.3. Scored 26 on the ACT. Trustee’s Academic Scholarship. Activities: Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Choir. All-State Women’s Chorus. All-State Mixed Chorus. Quote: “She never allows anything to divert her from her long-term goals. Cassidy always exudes great confidence in her abilities.” — Shanon Atkinson, track coach College choice: Oklahoma Baptist Also nominated: Rachel Copus STILLWATER: CHARLES CLARK Athletics: Member of state championship team in swimming as a senior when he finished second in the 100 backstroke, third in the 100 butterfly. Honorable mention All-City as a junior and senior. Academics: Scored 31 on the ACT. Grade point average of 3.9. National Honor Society. Activities: Student council treasurer. Beta Club historian. Junior class treasurer. Disc Golf Club historian. Quote: “Charles has severe problems with his spine ... yet each day he battles through the pain, always working to better his times.” — Tommie Grant, math teacher College choice: Trinity University Also nominated: Sarah Carpenter, Nathan Herrmann
Toward the end of Kenneth McGruder’s junior year at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, the letters started flowing in. Oregon State. Texas Tech. Missouri. Ohio State. LSU and more. They were all after McGruder, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety. McGruder committed to Oklahoma State on June 10. He knew there was a good outlook for immediate playing time at his position. He heard positive words from...
Unofficial visits a 'necessary evil' in college football
By Cody Stavenhagen, Staff Writer | Jun 28, 2014Toward the end of Kenneth McGruder’s junior year at Alief Taylor High School in Houston, the letters started flowing in. Oregon State. Texas Tech. Missouri. Ohio State. LSU and more. They were all after McGruder, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety. McGruder committed to Oklahoma State on June 10. He knew there was a good outlook for immediate playing time at his position. He heard positive words from incoming OSU freshmen Chris Hardeman and Keenan Brown, McGruder’s high school teammates. McGruder, though, hasn’t been to Stillwater, never walked the OSU campus or toured Boone Pickens Stadium. He wants to go, for sure. He said he hopes he can come in July. “Me and my mom are trying to come up with a way,” McGruder said. “I want to take it, I’m just waiting on my mom to try to come up with the money to take me up there.” On the other end of the spectrum is JR Hensley, a three-star offensive line recruit at Edmond Santa Fe. His brother, Ty, was also highly recruited before deciding to pursue baseball — Ty went to the New York Yankees in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft. JR Hensley went on unofficial college visits with his brother, and long before anyone knew who he was, he had been to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Texas, you name it. Now one of the state’s best players in his own right, Hensley is going all over on visits. OU, OSU, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas, even Arkansas and a couple of other non-Big 12 schools. “My mom and dad, they spent a lot of money for me and my brother to go and pursue our dreams,” Hensley said. “Camps, transportation, the stuff that we’ve got to do … You really have to throw it up to mom and dad for helping out. “Some kids aren’t that privileged, and you’re really at a disadvantage, honestly.” Hensley knows because he’s seen the ins and outs of big-time recruiting for years. “There’s hundreds of other 6-foot-5, 300-pound kids across the nation, so it’s like if you’re not going to take the time for them, they’re probably not going to take the time for you,” he said. “That’s just how it is. It seems like every place I’ve been to, it’s not about football. It’s more like a business. “It’s about who can get the bigger cattle, who can get the best, who can get the five-stars, who can get the four-stars, who can get the cream of the crop. It’s constant, everyone is attacking everyone. Coaches are sabotaging other coaches. It’s crazy.” In 2012, Maurice Smith Sr. — father of Alabama cornerback Maurice Smith — told ESPN.com the family spent $14,511.87 for his son to visit eight schools ranging from Alabama to Utah. NCAA rules prevent colleges or any third party from paying for unofficials visits. Recruits can get three free tickets to a game, but food, travel and anything else comes out of pocket. As for official visits, players can visit up to five schools with all expenses paid, but can’t take officials until their senior year of high school. McGruder, though, won’t tell you that’s unfair. Just as Hensley is appreciative of his situation, McGruder accepts his. “I think it is what it is,” he said. “Some people ain’t got it like other people got it. That’s why you have to work hard to get out of it.” Warren Wand, a running back from Edmond Memorial, is trying to prove himself to schools. That’s why he took the initiative to ask Southern Miss coaches if he could visit over spring break. “You have to show interest,” Wand said. “They show interest in you, you want to show interest back for them to know you might like to come to their school. That way maybe they’ll keep showing interest.” This can be catch-22 for recruits in a position where college coaches hold the power. They want recruits younger and younger, athletes are pressured to pay for big camps and to take visits. Especially for players such as Wand trying to make a name for themselves, choosing not to can have consequences. However, choosing to do all that doesn’t come with guarantees. “It can put kids in a bind,” said Jody Jordan, McGruder’s coach at Alief Taylor. “I had one kid that went all the way to somewhere, they encouraged him to go, and he went there and then they never offered him.” That’s why unofficial visits are one of the NCAA’s biggest problems. Violations involving coaches or facilitators paying for recruits to visit schools have been going on for years. Hensley said from what he’s seen, the NCAA is trying to crack down. He said coaches aren’t breaking rules, but they are finding loopholes. “They work the system,” Hensley said. “They put out the biggest spread you’ll ever see of every food you could possibly think of for $6, because $6 is the NCAA minimum.” Mike Fecci, who coaches four-star OSU commit Ronald Jones at McKinney North in Texas, encourages his top players to take unofficials if at all possible. “I think unofficial visits are vital, and I mean that because you’re not going to buy a car or house without looking at it first,” Fecci said. “You’re not going to go buy something like that just because you heard it’s good. But I don’t think it’s right that only the rich kids get to do that.” The problem with players waiting until they become eligible for officials is that in today’s game, top recruits commit as juniors, and coaches are already planning to allocate those scholarships. Jones, though, thinks he has a solution. “I just think they should move the date for officials up to the summer or even March to give kids like me an opportunity to visit out-of-state so they can make a fully educated decision,” Jones said. Those involved from the high school perspective agree the system is broken. But in a college football world ruled filled with scandal and controversy, there’s not always an easy fix. “I think (unofficials) are a necessary evil,” Fecci said. “I just wish there was a way they could pay for something.”
Jun 22, 2014
OSU football is not the renegade program that Sports Illustrated tried to portray. But off-season scandals are a sign that the Cowboys could get to such status quickly if coaches are not more careful on who they bring in.
Oklahoma State football has lost a step or two in positive public relations
By Berry Tramel | Jun 22, 2014When the Sports Illustrated series last September put Oklahoma State football under siege, the Cowboys’ response was effective. A professional public relations campaign. Ample media help. Strong leadership from OSU personnel. By the end of the week, SI was under as much scrutiny as was Mike Gundy’s program. But Cowboy football this offseason has given back some of those PR gains. Its academic progress rate was sub-standard enough that OSU has been docked a day’s practice per week in the 2014 season, and freshman tailback Devon Thomas is charged with a variety of felonies in Tulsa, including shooting with intent to kill. Two big black eyes on a program that had risen to great heights in recent years. And those black eyes are linked. Gundy and staff have not been careful enough on whom they recruit. OSU football is not the renegade program that Sports Illustrated tried to portray. But these offseason scandals are a sign that the Cowboys could get to such status quickly if coaches are not more careful on who they bring in. And strange as it sounds, the academic shortcomings are the biggest alarm. Coaches can miss on the character of any individual recruit. There’s a little Father Flanagan in every football coach. Certainly OSU knew or should have known that Thomas was troubled. All kinds of stories floated around Tulsa and Broken Arrow. Since Thomas’ arrest a few weeks ago, juvenile records have been released showing Thomas was suspended four games in his junior year at Broken Arrow High School and accused of distribution of child pornography. Thomas videotaped himself having sex with a girl under the age of 18, then showed his friends. That makes Thomas anything from a knucklehead to a degenerate. Football scholarships by the score have been given to risks like that. This time it bit the Cowboys, made more embarrassing by the fact that Thomas was committed to OU before the Sooners apparently backed off because of his behavior. But again, coaches not only want to win, they believe in that mentorship concept. They believe they can impact the lives of wayward young men, and often they do. But sometimes they don’t. Fail often enough on the same campus, and someone else will be in Father Flanagan’s office. Thomas was an early enrollee. The alleged crime occurred May 27. If Thomas had not come to Stillwater in January, he would be labeled an OSU recruit, not an OSU tailback. That’s part of the PR game. OSU has not removed Thomas from the squad, at least not publicly, but I assume that’s a formality. The Cowboy brass is lying low on Thomas — both Gundy and OSU President Burns Hargis declined to comment on the offseason problems — but I know what they were thinking on Thomas. I don’t know what the explanation is on the academic progress rating. The Cowboys blamed part of it on players who remained on scholarship but prepared for the NFL Draft instead of going to class in spring semesters. But that’s a problem that afflicts every program with talent. OSU has taken too many risks. Academic risks. Behavior risks. Attitude risks. Lack of retention is about the only way a football program can fall below the NCAA’s APR standards. With virtually mandatory summer workouts, summer school is a staple for almost every player. Impressive academic support programs exist at most programs on the Big 12 level and certainly that includes OSU. Players have to work hard not to be in good academic standing. The NCAA’s entrance requirements are so low, almost every prospect can get into school. But that doesn’t mean schools should take all qualifiers. Take too many risks, and you pay for it. That’s what OSU did. While recruiting better and better talent, the Cowboys were not so focused on prospects’ other characteristics. And now State football is giving back some of the hard-earned PR points from last September. Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.