By ANDREW GLOVER
STILLWATER — It’s safe to say that Oklahoma State University fullback Kye Staley didn’t get his career off to the best start as a knee injury sidelined him during his first two seasons.
After making an impact last year as a senior, Staley hopes to take advantage of his extra year of eligibility and prove himself.
“I’m very happy I got it, it wasn’t a guaranteed thing,” Staley said. “It’s just another year for me to prove myself on the field and show everybody my knee is fine. Everybody still has questions about. ... I didn’t have a good start to my career but I want to have a good ending to it.”
In 2009, Staley suffered a season ending knee injury that caused nerve damage at the time doctors were unsure if he would play football again. The fullback proved the doctors wrong and returned during the 2011 season. In a blowout win against Baylor, Staley scored his first career touchdown. The senior fullback from Guthrie said the injury helped him take better care of himself.
“Avoid staying out late, the type of foods I eat, dieting and just trying to stay healthy,” Staley said. “I want to avoid the nagging injuries like hamstring. I’m just going to train hard and work hard at everything I do.”
Last season, Staley had a strong game against Louisiana — catching two passes for 65 yards and a touchdown. Later in the season, Staley found the end zone again in a Nov. 17 game against Texas Tech. Staley finished the season with 12 receptions for 166 yards. The senior fullback was honored with a second consecutive second-team All-Big 12 selection The senior fullback said it was nice to make an impact last season and is looking forward to helping the team this season.
“I’m going to do just what the offensive coaches want me to do,” Staley said. “If they want me to run the ball, I will run. If they need me to block, I can block. I just want to help my team be successful.”
Coach Mike Gundy said having Staley back another year is great and expects him to contribute.
“Kye has been really good for us, he’s one of the leaders that we talk about,” Gundy said. “We tease him that he’s back for his 10th year. ... Kye would play here as long as he could. He loves football and he loves being around the team. It’s amazing that he’s able to do what he is capable of in practice and in games. It’s important for us to have that fullback at times.”
Staley said the team has plenty of motivation for the season and hopes to finish it well.
“We didn’t like how our season went, going 8-5,” Staley said. “We are preaseason ranked number one (in the Big 12). It doesn’t matter how you start but how you finish. We already know that. We want to prove to everyone why we are here and ranked number one.”
Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress.