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OSU's Brennan Presley created his own legacy and he's more driven than ever

Apr. 10—OSU's Mike Gundy has tried to limit senior receiver Brennan Presley's reps this spring. His efforts have failed.

The Cowboy head coach has told Presley to take a step back and keep his body fresh. Despite that, when Gundy watches practice from the Sherman E. Smith catwalk, he can't help but notice No. 80 in orange. Right in the thick of things.

"I look up and he's back in there," Gundy said.

For Presley, he didn't get to this point of his career by relaxing or taking a step back. It's always been a persistent effort and relentless work ethic. That's what he's always done and what he says he still has to do even when the coaches think otherwise.

"That grind always has to be there," Presley said.

"I know what I can do and I know what I can accomplish," continued Presley. "So why come out here and go half when I know I can go full."

Presley was a superstar during his time at Bixby High School thanks to that grind. Gundy was able to witness that firsthand on countless occasions.

One that sticks out is his performance in the Class 6A-II State Championship game — against Gunnar Gundy's Stillwater Pioneers. Presley's 308 all-purpose yards, highlighted by a kickoff-return touchdown, led Bixby to its third title in four years.

Presley left Bixby with 3,448 receiving yards and 40 touchdowns, along with 495 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. He also won the state championship in each of his last two seasons.

"I saw him continually be productive in big moments," Gundy said. "We like guys in high school that can produce. We said it's worth taking the shot, and obviously we were right."

One main problem presented itself at that time of his recruitment: Presley's 5-7, 155-lb frame.

"He could run full speed under a coffee table and not hit his head," Gundy recalls thinking.

Turns out a lot of other major programs and coaches thought the same thing. Enough so that Presley was worried about his future playing football beyond high school.

Oklahoma State was his only Power Five offer, and one of 10 Division I offers. Other schools included North Texas, Memphis, Army, Air Force and Temple.

"I was stressed about it all the time," Presley said. "You work that hard to play college football...you want to see the fruits of your labor."

When Presley was given the chance by Oklahoma State, he took it almost immediately. A June 25, 2019 offer resulted in a July 15, 2019 commitment. He was on campus just over a year later.

The Cowboy coaches were impressed by what they saw from Presley during his first fall in Stillwater.

"He would get bounced around like a ping pong ball, but he would always get back up," Gundy said.

Presley was asked if that competitive nature comes from all of the doubts he has dealt with. His response was that it's "more about competing against myself."

Everything has worked out for the now 22-year-old Presley. His 16 career receiving touchdowns are the most of any OSU receiver since the start of the 2020 season. He also has over 4,000 career all-purpose yards. That's more than former Cowboys like Dez Bryant, Tylan Wallace, Chuba Hubbard, Justice Hill and Josh Stewart.

Immediately following Oklahoma State's 31-23 Texas Bowl victory last year, Presley said that "he was on his own timeline" for deciding if he would return for his final year. He realized that he needed one more year.

"There are a lot of things I still need to work on," Presley said. "I'm not a finished product, I'll never be a finished product, but in terms of just working on little things like cuts, catching and knowing what I could be."

He has also changed up his diet plan. Chicken and rice has become a staple along with Red Baron four meat pizza. Candy has become noticeably absent from his eating habits while breakfast has become a staple.

All of that in an effort to feel stronger for his final season of college football and his desire to once again play at the next level — the NFL.

"I'm coming back an extra year to get myself ready for that level," Presley said.

As spring practices continue on, Gundy might try to keep his veteran players rested with conservative reps, but that won't work for Presley. That's never who he has been.

"He is who he is from a competitive level," Gundy said. "His body's ability to recover from the punishment at this level is pretty amazing."