Carney: He's very talented to begin with, so I don't want to take that away from him, I think that's probably every recruits number one thing, right? Otherwise they wouldn't be going to Oklahoma State. Other than that I would have to say it's his work ethic. How every day he shows up to practice ready to work and give it everything he's got. That's how he plays too. I would have to say work ethic would be one. Leadership, of course, would be another … his verbal leadership, he's vocal enough to lead the people around him.
What do you think will be the biggest transition for him moving from the high school game to the Big 12 Conference?
Carney: The speed of the game. That's the one thing that's going to be the biggest change for him is the outright speed of how everything's played. That's going to be the biggest adjustment for him but at the same time he's athletic enough to overcome that and to adjust to it. He ran the 110 hurdles for us last year, and his time was in the high 14 (seconds). He's fast enough to adjust to it. I think the size as well will be an adjustment. He hasn't seen offensive tackles that are 6-6, 300 pounds, so that will be a little different for him as well.
Do you think he has a chance to make an instant impact or will there be an adjustment period for him?
Carney: I think the one thing that will keep him from making an instant impact is his size right now. He's going to come in at 6-6, 215 (pounds), and I just don't think that's a body built to contribute at a Big 12 school like Oklahoma State. I think they know that at Oklahoma State. I think coach (Mike) Gundy and coach (Joe Bob) Clements both know that he's going to have to put some weight on. It will be tough for him to make an immediate impact just because of his size.
Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Carney: I think it's because of the success (Oklahoma State) has had. The facilities are top notch. Coach Clements has come in here and treated Cole like we try to treat our kids here, and that's with respect. I think he knows he's going to get that from coach Clements. He's going to get coached hard, but that's what Cole wants. He wants to be pushed, he wants to be worked hard but he also wants a pat on the back every once in a while. Coach Clements has kind of come in there and done that for him. Oklahoma State is a top notch school right now and he knows that. He's got a chance to come in and play in some major bowls, and hopefully play for a national championship in the next five years, and that's one of his goals. I think that has a lot to do with why he chose Oklahoma State.
What do you think he is capable of accomplishing over the course of his college career at OSU?
Carney: I think the sky is the limit for him because of what I told you earlier about how hard he's going to work. He's 6-6, 215; his dad's 6-7, 270. The size is going to come and when it does with his athleticism the sky is the limit for a guy like that. He's got the speed to rush off the edge, and when he gets strong enough he's going to be a heck of a football player. I know (OSU) has had some guys from Celina, Caleb Lavey and Jamie Blatnick, and we're pretty close (in proximity) to those guys. We get those same type of kids, and you see how hard they work. I know both of those guys have been leaders up there. Once Cole's weight catches up with his height, I have a feeling he's going to be just like those guys. They're going to see how hard he's going to work.
What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Carney: I've been coaching now for 13 years, which isn't a long time, but in my 13 years I've never coached a kid as special as Cole. God gave him a ton of ability but you'd never know it from watching him show up and work every day. He shows up like he's working to gain all that ability through hard work when God just gave it to him. So, I'm going to miss just being around the greatest player I've ever been around, and he's one of the best people I've ever been around. He's so mature for his age. He's just got a lot going for him, and I think that's the biggest thing I'm going to remember about him. Don't get me wrong, his ability is outstanding. He's one of the greatest football players I've ever coached but there's more to him than just that.