Football: Freshman tops Walsh to be OSU’s starting QB

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Guyer football fans will have to wait longer than expected to see redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh under center for Oklahoma State.

OSU coach Mike Gundy announced that true freshman Wes Lunt, an early enrollee from Rochester, Ill., will be the Cowboys’ starting quarterback when they open the season Sept. 1 against Savannah State during a press conference Thursday in Stillwater, Okla.

Lunt was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback in the country in the Class of 2012.

Lunt passed for more than 7,000 yards with 65 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in his last two high school seasons. He beat out Walsh and junior Clint Chelf, who served last year as the backup behind record-setting quarterback Brandon Weeden.

“We had to make a decision based on what we thought was best for our offense to score points and then give us the best chance to win football games,” Gundy said. “All three players had good springs, but at some point, the decision is made on the field. There’s always a comment about who coaches are going to name as the starter at any position, but the coaches usually don’t make that decision — the decision is made by the players. Wes performed better than the other two quarterbacks in the spring.”

Walsh was rated as the No. 4 dual threat quarterback by Rivals.com in the Class of 2011 coming out of Guyer, where he was a three-year starter and led the Wildcats to a berth in the Class 5A state championship game as a senior.

But the Cowboys enjoy a fast-paced, downfield passing offense that was led by Weeden for the past two seasons, and Gundy said Lunt’s skill set fit in best with their offensive system at this time.

“We like our system,” Gundy said. “We like the ability to play fast. We like the ability to throw the ball down the field effectively but also run the football. Wes gives us the best opportunity to stay consistent with our style of play.”

Added Lunt: “I’m a drop-back passer, a lot like Brandon Weeden. I’m not going to kill you with my legs. I’m a passer.”

Guyer head coach John Walsh, who is also J.W. Walsh’s father, spoke with his son following the announcement and said he expects his son to be ready when called upon as the team’s backup. Chelf will be No. 3 on the depth chart.

“They [coaches] made him feel good about it, and just told him he’d have an opportunity to play,” John Walsh said.

Walsh was seen as the heir apparent to Weeden before the 6-4, 211-pound Lunt stepped on campus and wowed coaches with his arm strength and maturity.

“His initial feeling was disappointment, and probably a little ticked off,” John Walsh said. “But in the same breath, he was talking really logically. There’s going to be lots of disappointments before he graduates and it’s how you react that determines your success.”

When asked if his son was considering transferring, Walsh replied with an emphatic, “heck no,” saying he will be ready to play when called upon as the team’s backup.

“Just talking to him, he’s disappointed but he still loves Oklahoma State football and he’s fired up about going to work,” John Walsh said. “Knowing J.W., this will probably turn his work ethic up a couple of notches.

“I know how he’ll respond. I feel bad for him because of how he’s feeling, but I’m still excited about what’s in store for 2012.”

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is aboedeker@dentonrc.com .


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