DALLAS — Josh Stewart and J.W. Walsh did plenty to represent their high school and community on the national football scene last season while starring for Oklahoma State.
Stewart caught 101 passes for 1,210 yards, while Walsh split time at quarterback and earned Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors from the league’s coaches after his 170.11 quarterback rating led the Big 12 and ranked fourth nationally.
Now, another former Guyer standout will have his chance to emerge on the college scene, as defensive end Jimmy Bean is slated to start for the Cowboys after redshirting last season as a sophomore following an injury in fall camp.
Bean left Guyer with Walsh and Stewart but was seen as a sure candidate to redshirt as a freshman because he had just 218 pounds on a 6-foot-5-inch frame as a high school senior.
Instead, Bean played sparingly in three games as a true freshman but still needed to put on weight, and last year’s redshirt might have been a blessing in disguise.
Bean now is listed at 245 pounds and is coming off a big spring that included two sacks and a fumble recovery in the Cowboys’ spring game. He appears poised to have the same type of breakout season enjoyed by his former high school teammates last year.
“I was out there and able to show the coaches what I could do in a game situation with all the fans watching,” Bean told The Oklahoman after the spring game in April.
That performance helped Bean’s cause, and he was listed as a starting defensive end on the Cowboys’ post-spring depth chart. Bean’s teammates could see the way he developed on and off the field.
“When I first got here, he was still kind of childish,” senior defensive tackle Calvin Barnett said Monday at Big 12 media days. “He’s grown up, and within a year he’s put on some weight. It’s crazy to see. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do when the real competition comes. He got in a little bit as a freshman, but you’re a kid then and he was an undersized one at that. There wasn’t much he could do.”
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who saw Bean’s potential and athletic frame when he was a senior at Guyer in 2010, said he still has some maturing to do but has set himself up for the potential of having a breakout campaign.
“He needed to grow up, work hard and get to class and understand the role of being a responsible college kid, whatever that is,” Gundy said. “He’s bought into it over the last six or eight months. He had a really good offseason and a great spring. He’s up to 242-245 [pounds] now, and I hope he’s at 250 when we start camp. He’s long and rangy and he’s growing up. He’s understanding the responsibility and all those things that are so important in being a quality college football player.”
After the redshirt season last year, Bean will be classified as a sophomore in 2013 and still have years to expand his game, but Gundy said he sees an immediate role the athletic speed rusher can fill on the Cowboys’ defense.
“He needs to be that guy you put in and he widens his stance and becomes a good pass rusher,” Gundy said. “Also, he needs to be able to play the draw. There’s a role for guys like that. Until he develops and becomes a complete player — he’s just going to be a sophomore this year — that’s where he needs to start, with the speed rush.”
Bean’s old friend Stewart said he is ready to see another Guyer product contributing for the Cowboys.
“Jimmy is going to be a big contributor to what goes into the season,” Stewart said. “He proved that in the spring game. It was just the spring game, but he also did it in practice, so it’s not just a fluke or anything. It’ll be exciting to watch him play because he’s another Denton Guyer player playing.
“He’s ready to be in the spotlight. He talks to me all the time about wanting that feeling and being a contributor that me and J.W. already felt. He’s just ready.”
Walsh in QB conversation
There was no time wasted Monday before Gundy was asked about his quarterback situation heading into the season.
The Cowboys have two quarterbacks who eclipsed 1,000 passing yards last season and would have had three had Wes Lunt not transferred to Illinois in the offseason. Lunt’s departure leaves senior Clint Chelf and Walsh, a redshirt sophomore, as the two experienced quarterbacks at Gundy’s disposal.
Gundy declined to name one the starter and said the job is wide open heading into fall camp. He expects both to see plenty of playing time this season.
“I think that we’ll continue to work like we have,” Gundy said. “We’ve got two young men that we feel very comfortable with, and they’ve worked, and they’re extremely dedicated to our program. They’re great team players. They’ll get equal reps. The one advantage we have in our offense is in practice and even in games we get a number of reps because of our tempo. We expect to play very fast this year. So we’ll work both guys. We feel very comfortable with them.
“We won’t say much until after the first game. We play a very quality opponent [Mississippi State] the first game. So we’ll need to use every advantage we have to give ourselves the best opportunity to win that game.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.