Loyal and True: Derek Branson

Derek Branson

Derek Branson

March 3, 2014

STILLWATER, Okla. -  Okstate.com’s “Loyal and True” is a feature that details the stories of walk-on players and other key contributors to the Oklahoma State football program who embody what it means to be a Cowboy. Today’s story features an interview with fullback Derek Branson from McKinney, Texas. His comments:

On how he started playing football
I always loved watching it on television and would play catch with my dad in the yard and tackle in the yard with friends. I started playing football as early as kindergarten in flag-football leagues, and started playing tackle football in fourth grade when we moved back to Tulsa. Played in the Jenks football youth leagues. Funny story I was playing little league hockey in Tennessee and I spent more time in the penalty box than the actual ice so my dad said I think it is time to sign you up for football. I was always really physical in all the sports I played.”
On who influenced him to play football
My dad was a big influence to me. I always wanted to play football so it would be him and I together during football. He also pushed me to play football, baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey growing up.”
On why he walked on on at OSU
I tore my ACL going into my junior year of high school so I didn’t have a lot of offers coming out, some small schools and some FCS offers but most of the places had worse facilities than I did at McKinney Boyd high school. I had talked to the coaching staff at OSU and they said I would have a good shot to walk on here so I decided to give that a shot and if it worked out great and if it didn’t I would be happy just being a student at OSU, but obviously I’m happy it worked out.”
On growing up as an OSU fan
Both my parents went to OSU. My dad and I used to watch every single OSU football and basketball game. We even had season tickets back when I was in elementary school. I used to change out of my muddy little league uniform in the backseat on our way to Stillwater to watch the Pokes play. The days of Tony Lindsay, Bob Simmons days to the Josh Fields, Rashuan Woods days all the way up to the Zac Robinson, Dez days. It was fun, lots of good times and lots of not so good times but it has been really cool and somewhat unbelievable to be a part of the team I grew up watching and loving and be a part during the glory days of OSU football with the Big 12 championship and Fiesta Bowl win. That whole first year I was walking around in amazement and was just really lucky to be a part of it. It’s weird now that I’m looked up to as the vet, it seems like yesterday I was in the stands cheering and now to be a senior and someone who has contributed in big wins is somewhere I always dreamed of being so its pretty surreal.”

On life as a walk-on football player
Life as a walk-on is definitely one for the dedicated. You are truly there for the love of the sport and the guys that grow to be part of your family. I would say it can be a little overwhelming at first but once you establish yourself in the program with good work ethic you become like every other guy. Everyone gets the same opportunity in practice and the motto truly is, 'It’s not how you got here but what you do while you’re here,' because at the end of the day it’s about winning games and championships, which is the expectation now.”

On his punt block at Texas Tech
By the Tech game the nerves of playing had gone away but they definitely came back with that atmosphere - unbelievable. We had seen in film study all week that their snapper was weak in protection and that he was going to try and pick me up all night, therefore on most calls we only sent me on the block. On the second punt for them I blocked it, and the only thing going thru my head was hurry up and pick this ball up and go score. Unfortunately, I think I rushed it and felt the punter right behind me so I decided not to make it worse and just fell on it. It was an awesome experience and it really has continued well beyond the play with all the love I got and, believe it or not, continue to receive. It’s definitely one of the top moments in my life and I plan on adding a few more of those to my resume with this upcoming season.”



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