Watching the Oklahoma State defense last season, there was one player who stood out above the rest.
He was flying around, he was making tackles, he was snagging interceptions, he was forcing fumbles and he was driving opposing offenses crazy.
That guy was Kolby Harvell-Peel.
Harvell-Peel, who had a breakout sophomore season recording 71 total tackles, earned AP and Coaches First Team All-Big 12.
On the last play of the last regular season game though, Harvell-Peel went down with a knee injury, tearing his ACL. He obviously did not play in the bowl game, going into full rehab mode heading into the offseason.
Yesterday, Harvell-Peel took part in media availability for the first time in nine months and discussed his rehab and his preparation for this season.
"Now I feel great," he said. "The process was just rehabbing. And then of course the quarantine hit and guys had to go home, so just trying to make sure I was staying up to date with my rehab and where I was supposed to be at. I went full speed the first day of camp and everyday since then I've just been feeling better and better and more like myself. I'm ready to roll on Saturday."
About to start his third season in the program and his second as a starter, Harvell-Peel is looked up to by many as a veteran and a leader in the secondary.
"Yeah, everybody keeps saying stuff about me being a vet now. And I still feel new. But to see young guys come in and be able to play with them and try to give them any bit of wisdom that I've got, it's definitely fun. We've got young guys that are out there making plays, too. So it's more fun when you can go out there and fly around."
Flying around is something this secondary is looking very capable of this year. With safeties Tre Sterling and Tanner McCalister with cornerbacks Rodarius Williams, Jarrick Bernard, and Christian Holmes, this secondary has a chance to one of the best in the nation.
Kolby was asked if he has ever been part of a more talented secondary than the one they have this year.
"No, definitely not," he started. "Last year I thought that we had a strong secondary, it kind of showed up later on in the year. This year we're planning to get going right off the jump. We've got guys coming in, guys changing positions, got a lot of guys on the back end with a lot of talent. I'm ready to go show it this year."
Coming off of a knee injury, especially when your job is to be explosive and fast, but others the team are saying Harvell-Peel has made his way back.
"He's flying around, looks just like he was last year if not better.", said Malcolm Rodriguez.
With an experienced and hungry defensive line, a pair of All-Conference linebackers and a group of veteran defensive backs, Kolby Harvell-Peel will have more help than he he could ask for.
He had a fantastic sophomore season but if he and the rest of the defense live up to the hype, we could see a Jim Thorpe Award contender kind of season. If this happens, I would say it's a safe bet we will watch Harvell-Peel have his named called in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft .