Mayes Can't Believe<br>It's Senior Day

It is very rare that an offensive lineman becomes a true star on a team, but there is no doubt that Oklahoma State right guard Sam Mayes has become a central figure on this football team. Mayes is a leader – by example and by heart. The big kid that came from Austintown, Ohio, has always had a big heart. He is also capable of being a mean force on the football field.

Mayes has watched many seniors take that final walk with their family on Senior Day. Mayes will make the walk this Saturday and be introduced to the Boone Pickens Stadium crowd for the final time before the Cowboys close out the home season against Baylor. Mayes is having trouble believing it is his turn.

"It's upsetting, it's so surreal, I can't believe five years has come and gone," Mayes said when asked about this Saturday.

He continued by poking fun at the reporter, "I've seen you go from brown hair to gray hair. We get out of the chair the same way. Knees are swollen, back hurts, everything is just messed up. It's fun, and it's come to the end of an era for me. Just like in high school it was on to bigger and better things, and I hope to play in the NFL and bigger and better things. I'm not looking at this as my last football game. It's the end of my college experience."

Another important makeup to the personality of the 6-foot-3, 325-pound Mayes is his pride. As much as any player on this team, Mayes wanted this season to end with that Big 12 championship the program has been shooting for. That goal was shot down for good with the second half collapse against Texas last Saturday in Austin. Mayes came off the field not with the look of disbelief that many of his teammates were wearing, but a look of disgust.

"After that game, I felt that it is just time to go out and have a good game against Baylor," Mayes said of his thoughts since Saturday. "We lost to Texas and it is a disappointing loss. It was definitely an unbelievable loss, but there is nothing I can do about it now. So, you look past it and look ahead at Baylor."

That also means reassessing the goals for the season. Now it's shooting for an 8-3 regular season record. Earning a trip to a top flight bowl game is at stake in the final two games. The Cowboys could be Cotton Bowl bound again, or they could be taking a trip to the West Coast for the Holiday Bowl.

Is it enough? Is that enough motivation for an outgoing senior to push his body hard for a final three weeks and two games in the regular season?

"It's definitely motivation," Mayes said without any hesitation. "There is not a team in this country that would come to Stillwater or play OSU and not be ready to play football. There is not a team in America that would schedule Oklahoma State for homecoming or as one of those easy games where they want an easy win. We're going to play our kind of football and make you play our style of football. If you are not a physical team then you are going to have to be a physical team to beat us. I think as far as getting better this season, our record, it can't be better than it was last season, but prestige-wise, image-wise, I think we've come leaps and bounds this season."

Leaps and bounds, that's a good way to describe how far Sam Mayes has come as a man in his time in Stillwater. It's been a special five years, and it has cut both ways. Sam Mayes has made a big impression on OSU football, Oklahoma State and Stillwater, and OSU and Stillwater have made a lasting impression on the heart of the big man.

"I hope I've made an impact here," Mayes said emotionally. "I did what I know how to do. I was well coached, Coach Moller has done a great job in developing me into the kind of player that I am now. I just love Stillwater and Oklahoma. You guys are my family and this is my family. I'm going to miss being a part of this family. I'm going to miss being in Stillwater. I have to move to a city here in the next semester, the next six months, and it's going to be different. It will be a huge adjustment for me."

It's going to leave a big hole in more than the Cowboy offensive line.

GoPokes Top Stories