Oklahoma State receiver David Glidden woke up Sunday morning in a good mood—and not just because he caught touchdown passes of 67 and 31 yards the night before in the Cowboys' 32–8 win against Central Arkansas.
It's hard for Glidden to wake up any other way.
Despite his 5'8" stature and everyman appearance, Glidden is living his dream as one of the Cowboys' most vital players. He grew up in Mustang, Oklahoma, 84 miles southwest of Stillwater. He was born an OSU fan and always had dreams of playing for the Cowboys.
Now in his senior season, Glidden is making a conscious effort to soak in as much as he can.
"To me, it's really everything," Glidden said. "I grew up an OSU fan. I take a lot of pride in everything I do here. It's been an honor to be part of this program."
Glidden's story of local kid turned football star is nothing unique, but it is noteworthy because Glidden embodies how coach Mike Gundy has sought to build his program. Gundy has a history of saying Oklahoma State aims to turn three-star recruits into four-star players and four star recruits into five-star players.
Glidden was a three-star recruit with limited physical tools. But he led the team with 42 receptions a year ago and has blossomed into a dangerous inside receiver.
Gundy began assessing Glidden's development with a joke.
"He's got longer hair," Gundy said. "And he still can't get on rides at Six Flags."
But when he got serious, his description was spot-on.
"He's kind of developed himself into being a master of his craft because he certainly doesn't do anything just walking by you to make you think he's going to be a good football player at this level," Gundy said. "He's just mastered his craft."
Glidden first surprised sophomore safety Jordan Sterns with his athleticism in a pickup basketball game when Sterns first arrived on campus. Not long after, Sterns got a dose of it in practice.
"My freshman year of fall camp, I was lining up against him on the opposite side of the ball, and he was just beating me on every play," Sterns said. "I was like, 'What the heck, man? Why can't I stop him?'"
Glidden's physical ability is not to be underestimated, but his real weapon is his mind. Glidden is constantly talking with receivers coach Kasey Dunn, even during games. On the sidelines, Glidden tells Dunn about what he sees from the defense and shares his ideas about how to pick it apart.
"He's smarter than most quarterbacks," quarterback Mason Rudolph said.
Glidden put it all into use Saturday when he finished with four catches for 145 yards against Central Arkansas. And he's hoping that game will be only one of many fond memories from his final season.
"I'm really trying to embrace every moment," Glidden said. "It's going to be a tough (season) to look back on when it's done."
Cody Stavenhagen is SI's campus correspondent at Oklahoma State. Follow him on Twitter.