STILLWATER — Shane Jarka began his Oklahoma State football career as a 230-pound linebacker prospect. He will enter his senior year this fall as a 295-pound defensive tackle and one of the keys to the Cowboys’ defensive success.
"Shane Jarka is going to have a really, really good year,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "He’s as good a defensive tackle as we’ve had in our program in my time here.”
It hasn’t been an easy transformation for Jarka. He arrived on campus prepared to put on extra weight for the pounding of playing linebacker in the Big 12. Then he was asked to move to defensive end.
"I developed some habits and had some tricks up my sleeve, like peanut butter sandwiches,” Jarka said of adding weight. "It really wasn’t hard. I took the protein shakes and ate three to five meals a day.”
Under the direction of OSU strength coach Rob Glass, Jarka put on around 30 pounds to get up to 270. Then shortly afterward, Jarka was asked to make another move — this time to defensive tackle.
"As soon as I put on that weight, they said, ‘We want to move you to defensive tackle,’” Jarka said. "‘But we need you to put on some more weight.’”
The former Sugar Land (Texas) Austin star was hesitant to make the move initially.