Mike Gundy wasn’t sure if he was watching football or baseball for a moment in Saturday’s game against TCU.
As sophomore safety Kolby Harvell-Peel tried to track down an overthrown pass by Horned Frog quarterback Max Duggan, Harvell-Peel had to turn and contort himself to corral one of his two interceptions in the contest – drawing shades of The Say Hey Kid.
“One of his interceptions was a great catch,” Gundy said. “I didn’t think he was going to get to it. He kind of Willie Mays’d it a little bit and went over the shoulder to make a really good catch.”
Harvell-Peel has some experience tracking down fly balls like he did on both of his interceptions against TCU – looking more like a center fielder than a safety on the gridiron.
The sophomore from College Station, Texas, played baseball growing up – though he wasn’t a fan of being an outfielder.
“I did play baseball, but I hated the outfield, though, because I’d get bored,” Harvell-Peel said. “I was more of an infielder. But those (passes) were tough to judge, because they were up there hanging.
“But I returned punts in high school, and played the offensive side, so I feel that my ball skills are OK.”
If he doesn’t like being a center fielder, perhaps being a defensive-minded point guard is more his style – finding himself in the pocket of players and poking away the ball.
Having played in every game since he’s stepped foot on the Stillwater campus, Harvell-Peel has had the best two-game stretch of his college career.
Against Iowa State the weekend before, he set an Oklahoma State single-game record with six pass breakups. However, he was disappointed after that game that he hadn’t gotten in on the pick parade by the defense – in which the Cowboys intercepted Brock Purdy three times in the final nine minutes of the win in Ames, Iowa.
But he got his against the Horned Frogs – twice – and added a fumble recovery near the red zone, for good measure.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a three-turnover day, not in high school or anything,” Harvell-Peel said. “I was more of a tackler. It was a big one for me, I’m not going to sit here and lie. … I still had two of them today that I want back. I could have had even a little bit more, but it contributed to a W, so I’m happy.”
After having no interceptions and just four pass breakups as a freshman – while finishing in the top 10 among the team in tackles – Harvell-Peel’s second season in Stillwater has seen an increase in productivity.
He now leads the Cowboys in fumble recoveries (2), interceptions (3) and pass breakups (11) – with at least double of each by any other player on the team. He’s also third in tackles, trailing only linebackers Malcolm Rodriguez and Amen Ogbongbemiga, with 57 total tackles – though he is second to Rodriguez in solo tackles with 44.