Who Is Vernand Morency?

We know what he is. Vernand Morency is the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week due to his 261 yard, two touchdown performance in the season opening 31-20 win over UCLA Saturday in the Rose Bowl. We know that the former minor league baseball player in the Colorado Rockies organization can really run with the football.

Last season three huge performances in games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Kansas and Baylor pushed him to just under 1,000 yards for the season as a back up to Tatum Bell. Still, with all the running this 5-foot-10, 215-pounder has done in orange and black, do we really know who he is?

After Morency's performance Saturday, the word Heisman began being used in conjunction with his name. That is pretty select company, and Morency certainly recognizes that.

"It was a great mention because it shows that people respect your craft that you work on year round," said a very thoughtful Morency. "It is respecting that."

So we know that Morency appreciates respect. He recognizes a compliment when he hears it. So, is the Heisman his goal? What drives him to play as hard as he did last Saturday? What motivation does he have to carry it to next Saturday and the home opener with Tulsa? Where is that drive and what is it?

"Just be the best that I can possibly be," started the soft spoken tailback. "To help my teammates, to help the University to get over that hump. My biggest thing to motivate me is to represent the running back tradtion at this University."

Okay, that sounds a little rehearsed, but we'll give him credit for the yearbook answer as actor Sean Connery once said in the movie "The Untouchables". We still don't know who Morency is. It's simple, just ask him.

"I'm laid back, easy going, very approachable," Morency said. "I probably won't start off the conversation. I'm always open armed, just laid back and very open."

We'll add quiet, although that just may be in front of the media. You look into his face and you can't help but think there is complexity there. At 24 years old, Morency has been through a lot. He was out on his own in pro baseball, and decided to come back to the structured environment of college football. He will get his chance to make it as a professional in football. His present and immediate future guarantees that. His past may have actually set him up for it.

He has a talented older brother who he followed and actually ran in the same backfield with at Miami Northwestern High School, where he gained more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and scored 15 touchdowns earning All-America honors as a senior. His brother's footsteps became his, but advice from his uncle became words he lives by.

"To be the best in whatever you want to be in life you have to have the three D's – dedication, determination, discipline," recited Morency of his uncle's saying. "I was taught that at a young age and that is just a creed that I live by."

A season with that creed combined with that ultra strong and swift body and Morency just might keep hearing the word Heisman, and Oklahoma State football just might be on another wild ride through the Big 12 into the postseason. This time with a reason to tune into the college football awards shows.

Who is Vernand Morency? He's the man of the hour with Oklahoma State fooball. Just don't expect him to start up the conversation, but instead be the subject of the conversation.

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