Offray Loves Centerfield

Juwan Offray is a centerfielder at heart, but on the football field he has specialized in playing either right field or left field. Confused by the analogy? Well, most folks know that safeties are considered the centerfielders on the gridiron, and Offray plays on the corner. He showed the Oklahoma State coaches in the summer just how well he can do the job out there.

Offray was at the OSU camp, but Cowboys coaches weren't all that interested, and the New Orleans Edna Karr product wasn't well known. He had been the other guy on Karr's squad as a junior.

Karr had Noel Ellis holding down the other cornerback spot the previous fall, and the 5-11, 170-pound Offray said that opposing quarterbacks would attack him because they didn't want to throw in the direction of Ellis, a well-known standout who committed to and would later sign with Texas A&M.

"I didn't have any choice but to get better," Offray told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "They weren't going to throw the ball to his side. Noel pushed me at practice to be a better player. He taught me a lot of things. He prepared me in games and taught me a lot of stuff about being a great cornerback."

On that hot summer day on the turf at Boone Pickens Stadium against quarterbacks and receivers he had never seen, heard of, or ever gone against, Offray made up his mind he was going to do everything he could to be noticed.

"I remember," he said, "I was thinking to myself that I don't have many shots like this, and I said to myself that I was going to do whatever it took to get a scholarship offer before I left that day. I was determined."

With no officials, Offray raised his aggressiveness to the highest level possible. Did he go beyond the rules, and would he have drawn a few flags? Quite likely, but he was setting the house rules.

No one could catch a pass on him. For a while, receivers were purposely lining up against him. He became a target and receivers wanted to be the first to stick it to this ultra-physical and very confident cornerback.

Then, after a rotation or two, when several receivers took multiple cracks at Offray, the response changed. You could see that receivers on the other side from Offray were line-counting and falling out, taking a water break, switching sides, anything to avoid being up against him. Up in the stands, I noticed it… and so did the Oklahoma State coaches.

On the way home, Offray called back to Stillwater and collected his goal for the day: an Oklahoma State scholarship offer.

Okay, so what other than football really interests Offray? Baseball, and playing centerfield for the Edna Karr Cougars baseball team.

"I love playing centerfield," Offray said. "I love covering all that ground and knowing that every ball hit out there is mine to go get."

The sport may change, but Offray's mindset does not; he is really good at chasing down a ball, and it doesn't matter if it is a baseball or a football.

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