Oklahoma State fans got their first look at eight true freshmen in Saturday’s season opener against Southeastern Louisiana. None made a bigger splash early than Madre Harper.
Making his way from Lamar High School in Arlington, TX, the three-star cornerback recruit earned a reputation as a lock-down corner who never had a touchdown scored against him.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback was one of the first commits of the 2016 class and was the first freshman of the class to show up in Stillwater.
Graduating high school early, Harper arrived on campus in February and started taking classes during the spring semester. This meant he would be with the team for spring practice and could take part in the spring game, in which he also made an early splash.
With plenty of new faces on Glenn Spencer’s defense, there’s still much to be determined. There’s a log-jam at cornerback new faces and old. Harper, as is commonly the case with freshmen, found his way on the field in special teams.
His first play as a Cowboy was pretty eventful in case you didn’t happen to catch it. The Cowboy offense apparently was still rusty from the off season and stalled on its first drive. Enter the special teams unit for what should have been a routine punt.
Lions junior defensive back Javon Tillman attempted to field a deep punt within five yards of the goal line and his nightmare scenario unfolded. Tillman muffed the punt which rolled back into the end zone. Harper was the first to get to the ball and scored the Cowboys first touchdown of the 2016 season.
Mike Gundy talked about the significance of the play during his weekly press conference.
"A true freshman, playing his first play, in a defensive role, scores an offensive touchdown," Gundy said. "That may be one for the record books."
Harper enjoyed another first as a reward for his big play, his head coach called him “number 25” for the first time.
As the rotations change and depth charts round out, keep your eye out for the lanky cover man. You never know when he might make another big play.