It’s often said that in life there are no second chances, but don’t tell that to Oklahoma State receiver Tracy Moore.
A year after the then-senior was set to become the heir apparent to Justin Blackmon, Moore suffered a high ankle sprain against Kansas, effectively ending his season.
Now, after months of rehab and a tough decision, Moore is finally ready to be the player the Oklahoma State coaching staff expected him to be last season.
“It was a bit of a decision I had to make, deciding whether I wanted to redshirt or not,” Moore said. “I ended up talking to my parents and weighing out the options. It was definitely the best decision to come back.”
“He’s going to really help our football team,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “Tracy was arguably the best player on our team last year. He’s matured. He’s been in big games. He understands commitment, he understands what it takes to convert in crucial situations and his attitude has been tremendous.”
It’s no secret the Cowboys have plenty of experience at wide receiver with guys like Josh Stewart, Charlie Moore and a plethora of sophomores back. But while those players have the playing experience, Moore said the experience he gained on the sidelines will be invaluable in the upcoming season.
“It brought me back to reality,” Moore said. “That was the biggest part. You learn a lot from being hurt and not being able to play.”
The Cowboys may be just two weeks into the spring practice season, but the time on the sideline is already starting to pay dividends.
“I love throwing to Tracy, Josh, Charlie — all those guys,” Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf said. “The list just goes on and on. I feel very blessed as a quarterback to have so many weapons. I just wish I had more than one football to share with them.
“Tracy has been coming along really nicely. I know he’s been working hard in the offseason to get back to where he was. He’s very football smart. He makes plays and he’s been running good clean routes so far. He brings a lot of passion and a lot of energy to our team and the guys are really feeding off of it.”
The reason behind Moore’s burst of passion and energy? He knows for sure that this will be his last season in a Cowboy uniform and this is his time to become a leader most people expected him to be last season.
“I’ve definitely got to hit the leadership role head on,” Moore said. “There’s no shying away from it now because I am one of the most experienced players on the team. ... Calvin (Barnett), Jeremy (Smith) and I all kind of got together and tried to figure out what we’re going to do for the spring and what we were going to try to accomplish.”
It’s been a long road back from the injury for Moore, but he feels like it was a road worth traveling. And as he prepares to put that injury behind him, Moore knows his best days in an Oklahoma State uniform lie ahead of him.
“I knew it was going to be a long process,” Moore said. “The first thing you think is stadiums, the 200s and the offseason runs. Then you think about the season you had last year and just trying to get back to improving to what we’re all used to. I just want to get myself back to the level I was at last year before I got hurt.”
And what about the ankle?
“I feel pretty good,” Moore said. “I’m pretty much just now getting to 100 percent. I had a good spring and good offseason working, getting stronger and stuff like that.
“I’m ready to work. I think we all have a bunch of goals and one of mine is to bring that Big 12 championship back. Everybody has come into spring ball dedicated and excited to get better. We’re all working toward that goal of a Big 12 championship — myself included.”
NICK SNOW is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress.