Possible Cornerback Transfer Visited This Weekend

Oklahoma State is left with just two returning scholarship cornerbacks for the upcoming season following the tragic death of veteran cornerback Vernon Grant and the dismissal of sophomore cornerback Andrew Alexander. The Cowboys do have talented freshman corners arriving in Calvin Mickens, Quinton Moore, T.J. Bell and Ricky Price. However, having a more mature corner could certainly help. The Cowboys may have found an answer in Cortney Billingsley who visited Stillwater this past weekend.

Billingsley's story is very interesting. He was an all-district and all-area corner his senior season at Arlington Sam Houston and graduated in May of 2001. That's right, 2001! He had two interceptions his junior season in a showdown game with rival Arlington and also returned a defensive conversion for two points in the contest. His senior season he was rarely challenged, but collected honors and also some scholarship offers. A family issue caused him to stay at home the next fall and lay out of football.

The following spring, 2002, he enrolled on scholarship at Kilgore Junior College and earned a starting role at cornerback where he played the following season. It was at that time that he questioned if he wanted to stay with football.

"I just didn't know if I wanted to stay with it," said the 5-9, 175-pound Billingsley. "I loved the game, but I also thought about becoming just a regular college student."

That's what he did. He transferred to Southwest Missouri State and the next fall was a regular student. He went to class and participated in intramurals and pick-up games. It was there that John Diaz of the YAC Foundation discovered him. The foundation has a Christian base and attempts to help young athletes find college scholarships and opportunities.

Diaz told Billingsley that if he changed his mind and wanted to play football again he was sure he could get him a scholarship at a California junior college. Billingsley was ready for a return, so he flew out to the West Coast for a junior college combine on May 6, 2004. Billingsley lined up and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.37 on grass. Moorpark Junior College coach jim Bittner told Billingsley he could play for him.

Last fall Billingsley started at corner for the Moorpark Raiders and showed little rust. Billingsley was the defensive player of the game in his third contest for Moorpark with an interception and several impressive passes defended. After several games opposing teams looked more often at the other side of the field. College coaches began looking at Billingsley, who came into the season a virtual unknown having been out of high school for three seasons. San Diego State was the first to offer and was soon followed by Boise State, Louisiana-Monroe and Baylor.

Billingsley returned home to finish his academics at Tarrent County Community College without saying yes to any school. He recently paid a visit to an old high school coach (Anthony Chris) and told him that he really wanted to play at Oklahoma State, but they hadn't contacted him. Coach Chris told Billingsley he knew new OSU assistant Curtis Luper and would get in touch with him.

When Chris called Luper, the OSU coach asked to see some tape. The tape came and so did the interest from OSU. This weekend Billingsley visited and now the Cowboys are looking for the opportunity to bring Billingsley to the school he's wanted to play for. The moral to the story is don't give up on your dream, sometimes you have to take the long road to get there. Cortney Billingsley certainly did that.

(NOTE: It is uncertain what Oklahoma State's scholarship situation is. There are several ways Oklahoma State could free up a scholarship under NCAA rules and it is our understanding that those avenues are being explored thoroughly in order to have Billingsley be part of the Oklahoma State squad for this season.

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