While the majority of the focus regarding Oklahoma State’s 2020 recruiting class is on the scholarship signees, those won’t be the only players joining the program this year.
Oklahoma State, as usual, has brought on a solid class of PWOs — preferred walk-ons. While that might not seem like a big deal, OSU has had numerous walk-ons turn into some impressive on-field performers. That includes current Dallas Cowboy Blake Jarwin and former Carolina Panther Brad Lundblade.
We were able to get in touch with a few of the 2020 PWOs to get their thoughts.
Defensive Tackle Austyn “Buster” Cohrs
So blessed to be in the position I am today playing the sport I absolutely love.Thank you to all my coaches, Family and expecially teammates that helped shape the player I am today. With that being said, I’m pumped to announce that I will be continuing my football career at OSU pic.twitter.com/KxQtNdzgs1— Austyn Cohrs (@bustercohrs1) January 25, 2020
The tackle from Cypress Woods High School in Cypress, Texas racked up 26 tackles including three TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and one QB hurry.
One of those sacks is one he’ll never forget as it lead to a fourth down stop in the team’s first-round play-off win; something Cypress Woods hasn’t done in a long time.
“ It was like a movie, honestly it was crazy,” said Austyn. “We lost in the first round the year before, so going into my senior year we knew we wanted to change the culture. So winning the first game, it was sold out it was crazy.”
Austyn has been playing football since he was five. That’s when he picked up the nickname “Buster.”
“My first practice, my coach said something like ‘Buster Brown’ because there’s a brand of country clothes, little kids country clothes called Buster Brown” said Austyn. “He’s like “dang little kid is a buster brown and he’s bustin’ kids” or something. And ever since then I’ve been called Buster.”
Austyn had a number of reasons for choosing Oklahoma State, including the opportunity to compete in the Big 12, something he calls an “honor.” Austyn has also been working with former Oklahoma State defensive tackle Larry Brown. He also grew with OSU as his second favorite team, behind Texas A&M.
“OSU was always like my second favorite team because they hated the Longhorns and hey hated the Sooners too,” said Austyn. “So I was like, ‘ok I can kinda get with these guys.’ I’ve always kind of like them because of their uniforms, they’re stadium, they’re culture.”
Austyn also has one goal he hopes to achieve during his time in Stillwater.
“Man, if I’m being honest my dream is to sack a Texas quarterback.”
Running Back Tavien Woodworth
Running back from Fort Gibson, Oklahoma racked up 2,427 and 21 touchdowns on 322 carries his senior year, a year after totaling 1,668 and 17 on 235 attempts.
Woodworth picked OSU after a visit he called “one of the best” he went on, and because of the opportunities it presented him off the field.
“I just saw a better future, better opportunities to get my degree and play the sport I love,” said Tavien. “Education is everything. I plan to major in psychology and I want to go into law enforcement.”
Woodworth played football and ran track in high school, something Coach Gundy and the rest of the staff love. His senior year was a memorable one, including an end-of-game performance against Fort Gibson’s rival, Hilldale.
“Against one of our rivals (Hilldale) I carried the ball the last six minutes of the game all the way to the six yard line to help win the game,” said Tavien. “We beat them for the first time in like 10 years.”
Long Snapper Zeke Zaragoza
JUCO long snapper from San Bernardino Valley College in southern California is considered one of the best at his position in Junior College.
Zaragoza played numerous positions at Ontario Christian High, but when he decided he wanted to play college football, he made the switch from center to long snapper.
“I knew right off the bat I wouldn’t be able to compete (in college) with these 320-pound tackles,” said Zeke. “The running back for my team my junior year, he was a senior, he went to my long snapper coach and he ended up going Division One. So when I had the desire to play college football I thought, ‘why not long snap to try and get a spot on a team, play at the next level, at the highest level I can.’ So that’s kind of what led me to that.”
Zaragoza started training with long snapper coach Matt Wiggly his senior season of high school, and credits Wiggly with where he is now.
“He’s worked with me every single weekend on Sundays,” said Zaragoza. “I give him a lot of credit because I started out of nowhere.”
Zaragoza says he didn’t know a lot about OSU other than watching them on tv, but like what he had seen, and is excited to be on campus. He and his family plan to make a visit in March.
For Zaragoza, playing any kind of football is a big deal. He was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome (OMS) when he was three years old that kept him from being able to feed himself or walk.
“A very rare disease. Only one in 10-million kids are diagnosed around the world,” said Zaragoza. “I was considered a severe case. They brought about 25 neurologists from around the world and set me on a table and were trying to figure out what I had.”
Zaragoza says it’s God’s grace — and non-stop support from his parents — that he’s where he is today and that he wants to be able to use football to help others who are dealing with OMS.
“My mom tells me everyday, ‘don’t let your story go to waste’,” said Zaragoza. “That’s the end goal for me is, to give anyone whose got the same disability or near to it that there’s hope and you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”