J.W. Walsh reflects on award, strange season

You can imagine J.W. Walsh's surprise. The morning of Dec. 5 had rolled around, and the redshirt freshman Oklahoma State quarterback had yet to roll out of bed.

The past four months had been a whirlwind for Walsh. He began the season second on the depth chart, behind Wes Lunt and in front of Clint Chelf. He ended it with 1,478 passing yards, 307 rushing yards and 18 combined touchdowns – but third on the depth chart after he suffered a knee injury against Iowa State.

The regular season finale marked a season of highs and lows – a mixed bag of emotions for Walsh. But on that Dec. 5 morning, he found his hard work had been recognized.

"I woke up to a text message from my dad," Walsh said. "He just sent me, ‘Congratulations.' I had no idea what he was talking about."

The Big 12 coaches announced Walsh as their 2012 Offensive Freshman of the Year. The award is even more impressive than usual, considering Walsh started just three games this season.

"I had no idea that I would even be up for the award," Walsh said. "That was really special … I can really only thank my teammates and coaches for that.

"You can just see with the adversity we've faced and all the struggles we've been through this season – and to still have guys on the All-Big 12 list and to still be as successful as we've been – it just speaks miles for this team."

It's hard for Walsh to pin down his favorite highlights from this season. You could point to every touchdown pass he tossed to OSU wide receiver Josh Stewart, Walsh's best friend since high school. Or maybe it was his 74-yard touchdown heave against Iowa State.

"There's a lot of memories just coming back to this year," Walsh said. "You go back and you think about different plays, different games and different situations. You also go back and you look at pictures. There are a lot of memories, I can't narrow it down to one. It's been a really special season."

Entering the Heart of Dallas Bowl, Walsh is just glad the Cowboy quarterback situation has finally found some consistency. With Chelf as the established starter, Walsh is glad to fill in during run packages. Having an extra month of practice to prepare helps, too.

"Anytime you get this long of a time to prepare, it's great," Walsh said. "It helps the team and helps you focus better and be more prepared for the game. I think with this time off, all three of us have done a great job of making sure we know the game plan and we know where to go with the ball at all times."

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