IRVING, Texas -- Oklahoma State starting quarterback Brandon Weeden was born in Oklahoma City, was a two-sport star at Edmond (Okla.) Santa Fe High School and committed to play baseball and walk-on the football team at OSU -- in 2002.
The hard-throwing right-hander instead signed a $565,000 minor-league baseball contract after the New York Yankees drafted him in the second round, 71st overall, in the 2002 draft. He spent a couple years in the Yankees system before being traded to the Dodgers in a deal that included former Texas Rangers pitcher Kevin Brown. He also played in the Kansas City Royals system before a shoulder injury convinced him to put away the glove and return to school and put on the shoulder pads.
"I'm 26, be 27 quick, but feel 18," said Weeden, who is projected to be the Cowboys' starter in the season opener and leading a pass-intensive spread offense under new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. "I had the quarterbacks all over dinner the other night, cooked them steaks, grilled out a little bit and hung out. I don't want to feel like I'm the old man, the boring guy, I just want to be one of the guys."
Weeden, 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, was the third-team quarterback last season behind three-year starter Zac Robinson. He's a junior now and if he shows he can run the Cowboys' offense in a transition season with plenty of turnover, OSU could be set behind center for the next couple seasons.
He had his big break out last season coming on in relief and guided OSU to a comeback win over Colorado. He threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Cowboys from an 11-point deficit in the second half.
"We all know that we're different at 26 than we are at 18 and in order to handle the pressures of being a quarterback and playing at this level, maturity is an advantage," coach Mike Gundy said. "Brandon, obviously, signed to play professional baseball out of high school, so he's had a taste of what it's like to be there and to deal with the media and the public and have success. There's obviously tough days and I think that will help."