By Jared Gallagher
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Two-year letter winner. Starter since 2007. Eleventh all-ime in scoring at Oklahoma State.
Things just weren't adding up for Dan Bailey. The Oklahoma State kicker was racking up the points and quickly becoming a fan-favorite with his psychadelic neon orange shoes. Yet for all the success and adulation, he was a walk on, a non-scholarship starter.
That all changed one day in August. An unexpected call from special teams coach Joe DeForest rousted Bailey from a late summer slumber. Coach Mike Gundy and his staff awarded Bailey with a scholarship.
"I kind of felt bad because I was sleepy and didn't really sound too excited," Bailey said.
The scholarship came along with one awarded to another walk on, junior fullback Bryant Ward.
While the standout kicker was virtually unknown when he walked on to the Cowboy squad in 2007, he will forever be remembered as a legend at Southwest Covenant High School in Mustang, Okla.
Bailey was an all-state and all-conference performer as a Patriot. He holds school records for longest field goal (51 yards), most field goals in a season (seven) and in a career (14). His senior season produced 51 touchbacks on 61 kickoffs (84 percent). He was also an individual state champion in golf.
Bailey has carried his high school success on to the collegiate level. In two-and-a-half years as the Cowboys Go-to-Guy, he has never missed an extra point in 117 tries, a school record that was previously 97. He has also connected on 26-of-35 field goal tries, with seven misses coming from more than 40 yards.
"I've had excellent blocking since I've been here," Bailey said. "I've got to give credit to those guys."
Since Bailey took over the place kicking duties from former standout Jason Ricks, 29 current and former scholarship players scored points for the Pokes, including a Big 12-leading rusher, an All-American wide receiver and a top-20 draft pick. None of them have scored as many points as Bailey.
He has become the Go-to-Guy when the Cowboys are in a clutch situation. That is just the position he wants to be in.
In the Cowboys' win over Missouri on Oct. 17, Bailey kicked a career-high four field goals, including a career0best 51-yarder. For his success he was awarded Placekicker Performer of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards and honored as one of three Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award Stars of the Week.
Bailey had everything he ever could have hoped for out of college: a spot on the roster of an FBS program, great experiences and records with his name on it.
Now he has received his most prized possession thus far: a scholarship.