Sometimes, you just have to wait your turn.
And Oklahoma State defensive end Jordan Brailford knows that. "Everyone's a lot bigger; I can't just push and pull everybody. I need to be more technically sound; I'm still trying to find my footing," he said.
Brailford, a Booker T. product, along with Broken Arrow product Gyasi Akem and Jenks product Dylan Harding were all playmakers in green country. Their talents led them to play at OSU. So far, that talent has been used in different ways.
For example, Harding is on special teams right now while also learning the difference between free safety and strong safety. "It's a big adjustment, you've got a lot of field to work with, more space with the receiver. [I] didn't play a lot of 1-1 coverage, so moving from that to the speed of college football and trying to man up on a guy that can run a 4.3 down the field is something you have to practice on," he explained.
But some focus on the little things. "They want me to improve on my footwork, first and foremost. I've got all my plays down; I don't really mess up on my plays. I just need to play with more confidence," said Brailford.
Akem, he's being coached on being enthusiastic "Once you get excited, it makes you seem like you're into the game. Coach Spencer talks a lot about being into the game, so when you get to see something exciting happen you need to be excited for him to be into the game," he explained.
The players named older Cowboys as mentors. Harding mentioned Tre Flowers and Jordan Sterns, Brailford mentioned Jimmy Bean as a big supporter, and Akem mentioned Ryan Simmons, Josh Furman and Seth Jacobs who helped him get into the swing of things.
But the hardest part of transitioning from high school to college hasn't been getting playing time on the field. Sometimes for the guys from the 918, it's been the good-natured ribbing that's been the hardest time, but they've been able to shake it off. "They throw their jabs at me, but, you never know, I kind of throw them back," said Harding.
So, it's jovial, but the Cowboys defense in the near future could be led by green country stars and these guys can't wait. "We are trying to contribute as best as we can and if it turns out we are put into the leadership role, it's great. It really helps us with how we can fit in a little bit more," Akem stated.