Cowboys Practice Notebook: Day 9

After Saturdaty's scrimmage was completed Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy announced that he has placed three former walk-ons on scholarship for the upcoming year. Quarterback Daxx Garman, fullback Teddy Johnson, and kicker/punter Kip Smith are now scholarship players.

Garman is in the race for the back-up quarterback role. The talented thrower has had a crazy football career since his junior season at Jones High School where he threw for over 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns.

His senior year he was ruled ineligible in both Oklahoma and Texas on transfer rules. He signed with Arizona but left after his first year, where he was redshirted, as then head coach Mike Stoops was fired. He sat out the 2012 season at OSU as a transfer and then did not see action last season.

Johnson has an All-Academic Big 12 performer the past three years and the senior from Coppell, Texas has 20 career tackles and has been a tremendous contributor on special teams. This season you can expect to see the 5-11, 225-pound Johnson some at fullback.

Kip Smith handled all the kickoff and punting chores last season after working to get healthy following a transfer from UCLA. Smith was rated one of the top kicking prospects in the country coming out of Broomfield, Colo. A senior, Smith averaged 39.6 yards per punt a year ago, and his kickoffs and ability to place the ball allowed Oklahoma State to lead the Big 12 in kickoff coverage with an average of 40.8 yards a kickoff.

Gundy Big on Walk-Ons
The Oklahoma State head coach has always been high on walk-ons and under Gundy's leadership they have established a strong walk-on program. It is benefitting the team this season.

"We've got some good freshman walk-ons, guys that I can see getting some good playing time as early as the latter part of this season and certainly next year," Gundy said after Saturday's 131-play scrimmage that saw 15 current or former walk-ons take part.

"We've got a great program here that we're very proud of. I'm going to venture that we put more walk-ons on scholarship here than anybody else in this league. They're treated with great respect. They get all of the same opportunities that the scholarship players do with the exception of tuition. I think that as we move forward with some of these changes that they're even going to get an increased opportunity, which is what we're here for.

"We have guys that are showing up," Gundy continued. "(Jeremy) Seaton was a walk-on and he plays all the time now. Teddy (Johnson) was. You had mentioned (Kameron) Doolittle, and then we have Blake Jarwin that is going to get some playing time. We have some offensive linemen, two guys that are in our second team, and they're walk-ons; same thing at the linebacker position.

"We're very pleased with our walk-on program and we're very fortunate here at Oklahoma State that our administration understands the importance of walk-ons and what they bring to our program. We're able to bring a big number of walk-ons into this program. There's no question that they've had an impact on this program over the last several years."

Gundy was asked by Bill Haisten of The Tulsa World about the walk-on Hall of Fame that he established in the West End Zone outside the locker room. Of course, one of the most famous walk-ons is current Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Brandon Weeden.

“These guys know how I feel about walk-ons. Whether we like to admit it or not, in all phases of what goes on in the world and this country and college athletics, we forget that at the end of the day, it's a game," Gundy continued praising the volunteer players. "The guys come and pay their own way. Many of them have jobs. There's a huge demand.

"We spend just under 19 hours a week with them and they're paying their own way. I have a lot of respect for those guys, so we do every single thing we can to make sure that they understand that we appreciate them. That's why we have that wall down there that is dedicated to our walk-ons. When they walk by there, they see their name. Their name will be up there forever as long as I'm here. If I'm gone and somebody else wants to change it then I guess they can, but as long as I'm here they'll see their name."

Ronald Jones in the House
One of the Cowboys top committed players in the 2015 recruiting class was on the sidelines during the scrimmage, sporting a huge smile. McKinney North (Texas) running back Ronald Jones was in Stillwater with family as his sister moved in for the start of school.

Jones' older sister is a student at Oklahoma State. Jones said his practices for the start of his senior season begin on Monday.

Jones is a big-play threat with speed and athleticism. As a junior in 2013, Jones ran for 2,406 yards and 39 touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per carry as he led McKinney North to the second round of the Class 4A Division I playoffs.

Lewis Taking Nothing for Granted
The centerpiece to the Cowboys offensive line is redshirt sophomore Paul Lewis. On either side of Lewis are right guard Zac Veatch and left guard Chris Grisbhy and the tackles are redshirt freshman Zach Crabtree on the right and veteran Daniel Koenig on the left.

The center is critical as offensive line coach Bob Connelly said it hasn't been easy finding a solid back-up and one rising candidate is freshman walk-on Brad Lundblade, who passed up scholarship offers to walk on at OSU. The 6-3, 290-pounder from Argyle (Liberty Christian), Texas has good feet and can snap it.

Lewis is pretty valuable at this stage of the game as he has been good at calling protections and identifying fronts.

"I'm just the working guy trying to get stronger and faster and better with the offense," Lewis said. "I still have a long way to go."

When Lewis signed with Oklahoma State a lot of media and recruiting sources thought he was a defensive tackle. He was as a sophomore at Galena Park North Shore and having played defense still helps him.

"It comes back to me and when I see Castleman or Ogbah I know what they want to do," Lewis described. "They want to get into you, control you, and then throw you off and make the play. It helps me knowing what they want to do and it helps with my foot quickness."


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