Stillwater News Press

Sports

August 17, 2012

Oklahoma State's Calvin Barnett making big strides in Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — The road to Boone Pickens Stadium has been a long and at time stressful one for Oklahoma State defensive tackle Calvin Barnett. Barnett has always dreamed of donning Oklahoma State orange since his high school days at Booker T. Washington, despite a late recruiting surge by Arkansas.

In two weeks, those dreams will become a reality.

“I felt like ultimately he wanted to come to school here,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “Some circumstances happened in the last two or three days of signing day. Sometimes young men are led the wrong direction based on things that are told to them. They can be guided in the wrong direction and fall for something that may not be there, and I think that’s what happened to him.”

After failing to qualify academically, Barnett went to Navarro Community College in Corsicana, Texas, for the first two years of his career. Now he’s back with the Cowboys and already making a big impact on the defensive line.

“He’s matured some,” Gundy said. “One area that we’re really pleased with him on is he plays like a veteran player. We’ve always had some issues with guys who are two-year transfers coming in and whether they’re in good enough shape, understand the game and just mentally tough enough to compete.

“He’s further along than just about any two-year player that we’ve brought into our program. He got tired at the end of practice, but that just comes with him adjusting to playing to this level.”

Defensive tackle hasn’t been an area of great concern for defensive coordinator Bill Young. In fact, that may be where the Cowboys are deepest with guys like Davidell Collins, Christian Littlehead and Anthony Rogers in the mix. But don’t expect the 6-foot-2 junior college transfer to sit quietly on the sidelines.

“We’re going to try to work him in every chance we get,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous talent. He’s just one of those guys who’s motor doesn’t stop. He works hard for us every practice. That’s all you can ask for.”

The latest depth chart has Barnett tabbed as a starter. Young said it’s a boost in confidence that has helped Barnett grab a starting role.

“Calvin Barnett is so much improved from last year and so much more confident in knowing his defenses and those kinds of things,” Young said. “We’ve got to pick up the tempo at the nose guard position and work a little harder, but we really feel like he’ll help our defense.”

Barnett’s road to Oklahoma State has been long and at times filled with turmoil, but with the 300-pounder anchoring the defensive line Gundy hopes Barnett will lead the Cowboys down the road to a Big 12 championship.

“I was just visiting with a couple guys (Tuesday) morning, it would have been nice to have for two more years. To have him in our program for three years, he would have really had a chance to develop,” Gundy said.

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