Freshman spotlight: Brad Girtman

Securing Brad Girtman last spring was huge for the Cowboys. Through that recruiting process, Girtman developed an unmatched relationship with the OSU staff, and now, he also has an on-field mentor to pattern his game and life after...

Direction is something that every young athlete needs. And with good direction, a player has the opportunity to reach his potential.

Oklahoma State freshman Brad Girtman is no exception. In fact, he could be the epitome.

"He's had some good home training," said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "His mama raised him well."

After an outstanding career at Memorial High School in Houston, where he posted more than 100 tackles each of his last two seasons, Girtman was highly sought after.

With his potential and the guidance of his family, teammates and coaches, Girtman's on and off-field possibilities were and are endless.

"He's a great kid to work with," said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "He comes to work fired up, he's smilin all the time, he's gettin on guys about bein lazy. We get 85 guys like that or hopefully 70 guys like that..."

Girtman has wowed diehard OSU fans all summer with his dedication and energy that seems to increase as everyone else gets tired.

Energy, he's always possessed, but the dedication had to be learned.

"My mom, she told me if I'm gonna do something, do it to the fullest," Girtman said. "She's never let me back down out of anything. She's just always been there, lettin me know what's right and what's wrong."

At 6 foot 5 inches and 300 pounds, one would assume that Girtman plays football. And with three older brothers who all graced the gridiron, the love for the game came naturally.

"I just followed them and did what they did," Girtman said. "We always played sandlot football and stuff like that, and I got the love through that."

Because of his brothers' guidance, Girtman went through childhood without idolizing any big NFL names. He has been kept more grounded, and now his senior defensive lineman Greg Richmond has taken over as mentor.

"I look up to G-Rich," Girtman said. "He's an awesome guy on and off the field. I just try to watch him on and off the field and see if I can do the things he does."

Girtman doesn't quit; he keeps going nonstop, much like Richmond.

"Greg was voted team captain, and he's takin that leadership role seriously," Dunbar said. "When you see a fifth year senior gettin after, attacking people, it's easy for you to say, ‘I need to put on my work boots and my hat and go to work.' That's what Brad and these young guys have really done."

Everything that Girtman has learned this summer is sinking in at an opportune time because of positive influences. Dunbar said he and many of the freshmen are in that same role. The staff is just trying to keep from overloading them.

"We're tryin to simplify things for him so that he can keep that motor goin," Dunbar said. "It's like a computer, the more stuff you put on the hard drive, the slower it gets. We want to keep that process goin."

Girtman will get his first chance to showcase his talent on national television in Nebraska, where Dunbar said he should get into 20-25 plays.

"I think he fits in well and he fits in early," Dunbar said. "He's gonna get a chance to play some ball along with a lot of the young guys."

With the opportunity Girtman has to play for a contending team, anything could happen. But the first step for the coaching staff was to get him to OSU.

Coach Les Miles, special teams coach Joe Deforest and Dunbar all helped in the recruiting process through frequent visits that developed a trusting and comfortable relationship. And Dunbar said that is the key to recruiting.

"You've gotta get a relationship with these young players," Dunbar said. "Players are so impressionable. Players will go to a school that they know nothin about because they feel comfortable with the coach.

"He got comfortable with us, and I think his mom likes us," Dunbar said.

On the back burner for Girtman, is a shot at the pros. He's hopeful, but it is far down the road, and his coaches are concerned with more immediate issues.

"Our short term goal is to get Brad to be a great student, he's a great person and we're workin on gettin him to be a great football player," Dunbar said.

As for Girtman, his concerns are solely on the upcoming season, learning and helping his teammates.

"I want us to do big things, that's one of the reasons why I came," Girtman said. "We're gonna be somethin else this year. I don't think a lot of people are expectin it."

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