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How Brennan Presley Went from Being Worried about Offers to One of the Best Receivers in OSU’s History

‘That grind always has to be there.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Brennan Presley is going to leave Oklahoma State as one of the most decorated receivers in program history. He’s had a remarkable career that is made even more remarkable considering many wondered whether the undersized Bixby standout could last at the Division-I level.

As a senior last season, Presley caught 101 passes, becoming just the fifth player in program history to accomplish that feat in a single season, joining Justin Blackmon (twice), Rashaun Woods and Josh Stewart. Presley enters his fifth season with 225 career catches, ranking fourth in program history. One more catch, and he ties James Washington for third. Presley is 69 catches away from passing Woods for the program record.

That would come with the caveat of having an extra season, sure, but through four seasons the only receivers who had more catches than Presley in an OSU uniform were Woods (293), Blackmon (253) and Washington (226).

Flash back to Presley’s time as a high schooler, and he said he was stressed about getting offers. And he had a right to be.

Despite putting up gaudy stats, Presley’s size (now listed at 5-foot-8, 160 pounds) left some skeptical. Presley picked up an Arkansas State offer in the February of his junior year at Bixby High School. North Texas followed in April. Memphis came calling in May. Then New Mexico State offered in June. All great opportunities, but it would be difficult to imagine a guy with those offers ending up among the best receivers at a Power Five program known for having elite receivers.

“Oh yeah, I stressed about it all the time,” Presley said. “You worked that hard to play college football and stuff. Sometimes you work so hard and you want to see the fruits of your labor, you want to see this and that opportunity pop up, so when it doesn’t, you kinda get a little bit discouraged and stuff.”

OSU had kept an eye on him, and finally in late June, the Cowboys extended a scholarship offer. Presley committed the next month.

“He would make plays in high school, and you know, he’s just not very big,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “I think then he was like 147 pounds or something. He could run full speed under a coffee table and not hit his head. You’re concerned about his overall physical longevity. And then we’d watch him make plays. And, to be honest with you, he was in the same group with Gunnar (Gundy), so I watched him play live. And I saw him continue to be productive in big moments. We like guys in high school that can produce, so we said it’s worth taking a shot. And obviously we were right.”

Presley didn’t even redshirt as a true freshman, earning snaps in a position group that featured Tylan Wallace, Dillon Stoner and Tay Martin. Presley really broke onto center stage in OSU’s Cheez-It Bowl win against Miami that season, catching six passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns.

As a sophomore, he was the Cowboys’ second-leading receiver behind Martin during OSU’s Fiesta Bowl-winning 2021 campaign. Then he has led the Pokes in receiving each of the past two seasons.

“Even his first year here, he was very competitive,” Gundy said. “The physical side of it, he’d get bounced around like a ping pong ball, but he would always get back up. The interesting thing about him is I try to back him off all the time, and I look up and he’s back in there. I’ll tell [Kasey] Dunn and him, I’ll say, ‘You don’t need to be in there right now.’ Then he’s back in there. He just is who he is from a competitive level. His body’s ability to recover from the punishment at this level is pretty amazing.

“The guy might play the game for five, six, seven more years because he just doesn’t know anything other than being productive.”

Presley’s speed, particularly laterally, stands out. But perhaps more than anything he does physically, Presley’s mindset is impressive.

When asked Tuesday what he would tell the high school Presley who was stressing about offers, Presley’s answer is all you need to know to understand how a 5-8 kid from Oklahoma could be one of the best receivers in college football.

“I don’t think I would tell myself that [everything is going to be OK],” Presley said. “Like if I go back and tell him that, ‘Hey, everything’s gonna be alright,’ then you start to relax. And then you don’t carry yourself with a chip on your shoulder.

“It’s like if I told you have to play in a basketball game and you have to score two points, and whether you score two points or not, you still get a million dollars . You’ll throw up halfcourt shots and all that stuff because you know at the end of the day, you’re going to get a million dollars. Rathan than if I said, ‘Hey, you gotta score two points.’ You’re gonna be cross over, fadeaway, you’re gonna pull everything out to get that two points. It’s just like that sense of security and stuff that I would not tell him that because that grind always has to be there, whether you know it or not.”

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