One of the more popular players on the Oklahoma State football team and one of the toughest was honored by head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys football staff on Tuesday as senior running back Keegan Metcalf was awarded a scholarship. OSU had one scholarship to give going into the season because of attrition as incoming freshman Tyler Brown left in the summer and ended up transferring to Tulsa.
Metcalf, who is from Elk City where he was the team MVP his senior season and lettered in four sports, had a college football journey that took him to Oklahoma Baptist where he helped launch the re-start of football at OBU after a long absence. After OBU he transferred to Oklahoma State where he had longed to try Division I football. He immediately earned respect and a nickname, Beastmode. In fact, it was quarterback Mason Rudolph, who tweeted this evening congratulations to Keegan "Beastmode" Metcalf for being awarded a scholarship.
"I was actually walking to talk to a professor about getting into a class of his that was already closed because it has too many people in it. (Assistant Director of Operations Rod Johnson) called me and told me he needed me to come to his office as soon as I could," Metcalf said of how he found out he was being placed on scholarship.
"My mind immediately went to the worst thing… I started panicking a little bit. I walked in and he told me 'Congratulations, we've decided as a staff that we're going to put you on scholarship this semester.' I didn't cry. I almost started crying.
"I texted my dad and told him that he didn't have to worry about getting the loan and everything for this semester," continued Metcalf. "He called me right after that and I told him. My parents were actually on the way to my little sister's softball game, so as soon as I said it, I guess my mom overheard because I heard her squealing in the background."
The 5-10, 230-pound Metcalf played in eight games last season and has been a major contributor on scout team. He is the kind of player that does whatever is asked and doesn't question it. He scored a one-yard touchdown in the Cowboys scrimmage on Saturday and is a huge candidate to be involved on special teams this season.
Metcalf is highly respected by his teammates.
"That's what everybody always talks about is having the story that everybody doubts them and no one believes in them," Metcalf said. "I feel like I've had the opposite. The second I was on the scout team, people started calling me beast mode. Every single player and every coach that has worked here since I've been here has been super encouraging, and it's helped a lot.
"Everybody keeps telling me that I'm one of the hardest working kids out here. I guess I don't think about it that way. I like coming out here and competing like coach (Kasey) Dunn talks about every day; making the man across from you as best you can every day. You've just got to love it, and if you have a passion for it, I think it becomes easy. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, and I ran track at Oklahoma Baptist, which was pretty difficult. Just the mental toughness that goes with this program, I think if you have that, the heart and the want to, then you can do it."
Awarding a scholarship has always been one of the actions that Gundy said means the most to him and gives him the greatest satisfaction and the walk-on program has been built up and is very strong. It's kind of fun for the assistant coach involved too.
"It's awesome. It's as good as it gets," running backs coach Marcus Arroyo said. "It's the best part about coaching is seeing a guy put forth that effort and get rewarded for it. There isn't a better feeling for us.
"He's the quintessential example of what you're asking a walk-on to come into your program and do. The walk-ons are the heartbeat of this program in a lot of ways. You can't get anything done without them. The things that we ask them to do, focus, effort, leadership, toughness, good attitude, never make excuses, all of these things that are the pillars of our program, he exemplifies.
"He's a perfect example for the guys we have and the guys who are coming in and asking to take that role on, saying 'It can happen, I can get a scholarship as a walk-on.' It does happen, and it's happened here a lot. Coach Gundy's done amazing with it. We're not anybody without those guys, so Keegan Metcalf is a perfect example."
A great way to end the first practice after school has started.