By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
None of the players on the 2013 Oklahoma State football roster were born yet when Barry Sanders put Oklahoma State football on the map with his Heisman season of 1988.
While they don’t know what happened in that season, they still know the name. And on Saturday, they will be looking to catch a glimpse of the OSU’s only Heisman winner when the university celebrates the 1988 season during the game against Kansas at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“I can actually remember playing around in my front yard, acting like I was him — but of course my moves were nowhere near his. But as a little kid I thought I was somewhere like him,” said fullback Jeremy Seaton, who grew up in Oklahoma and played quarterback for Cashion High School. “In my mind, I thought I actually (mastered the spin move). But I don’t think I ever did.”
Though none of the players got the chance to see Sanders play at OSU — and many of them have only seen highlights of his NFL days with the Detroit Lions — they have had the opportunity to see his quarterback on that 1988 team throw the ball around a bit.
Wide receiver Josh Stewart said OSU coach Mike Gundy, who was the quarterback on the Cowboy team when Sanders won the Heisman, will still throw the ball around in practice when talking with the Cowboy quarterbacks.
“There’s been a couple of practices actually where he would tell a quarterback, ‘That’s not how you throw it, this is how you throw!’ And he would throw it right on the money,” Stewart said. “It was pretty impressive for him to be his age and still be able to make that throw. But that just shows how talented that team was.”
While he’s helping the current Cowboys, Gundy joked about when he was asked about the signal caller for OSU in the 1988 season.
“He wasn’t as good as everybody else on that team. I can tell you that. He was in the right place at the right time,” Gundy said.
When recalling Sanders and his impressive Heisman season, the OSU coach admitted he was a little surprised that Sanders received enough votes to win the prestigious trophy. Because of the lack of television exposure the program received at the time.
“Think about it, for the majority of the year, nobody ever saw Barry Sanders play. If it was in today’s time and age, he would be on every highlight reel and every show every weekend,” Gundy said of his running back, whom he claims is the best college football player ever. “He stayed hidden fairly well throughout the year, unless you were playing against him.”