BROTHER’S HELPER

In­jured brother mo­ti­vat­ing Wal­lace in Bilet­nikoff cam­paign

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS | BUSINESS - Nathan Ruiz [email protected] ok­la­homan.com

STILL­WA­TER — Ty­lan Wal­lace has lived up to his Su­per­man moniker for much of his break­out sopho­more cam­paign. He’s done it with­out Bat­man.

Thurs­day night, Wal­lace will pos­si­bly be­come Ok­la­homa State’s fourth Bilet­nikoff Award re­cip­i­ent in the past nine sea­sons as the na­tion’s top re­ceiver when the win­ner is an­nounced as part of the Col­lege Foot­ball Awards in At­lanta.

Wal­lace’s twin brother, Tracin, will be along­side him when he learns whether he was able to beat out Alabama’s

Jerry Jeudy and Mas­sachusetts’ Andy Is­abella for the honor.

They’ve been side by side all year, even though Tracin, also an OSU re­ceiver, has missed the ma­jor­ity of the sea­son with his third ACL in­jury in the past four years.

“It’s been a real eye­opener,” Ty­lan said this week. “You never know

when your last play is.”

Among the fi­nal­ists, Ty­lan ranks first in catches of 10-plus and 20-plus yards, sec­ond in re­ceiv­ing yards and yards per catch, and third in touch­down re­cep­tions.

How­ever, in games against cur­rently ranked op­po­nents, he leads the na­tion in re­ceiv­ing yards and re­ceiv­ing touch­downs, as well as yards per catch among the 34 re­ceivers with at least 20 catches in such games. Wed­nes­day, Sports Il­lus­trated named him a sec­ond-team All-Amer­i­can.

Mean­while, Tracin, who OSU has not made avail­able to me­dia as an in­jured player, has watched from the side­lines, pro­vid­ing mo­ti­va­tion to his brother how­ever he could.

“He comes to ev­ery game, watches ev­ery game; he texts me be­fore ev­ery game,” Ty­lan said. “He’s al­ways there in meet­ings still. He could eas­ily be at home and just do­ing what­ever he wants to do, but he’s still around here. He re­ally just stays pos­i­tive and keeps the team up.”

Ty­lan and Tracin, prod­ucts of Fort Worth’s South Hills High School, are room­mates. On at least one oc­ca­sion, Ty­lan has worn Tracin’s cloth­ing to prac­tice. Although Tracin can’t be on the field, Ty­lan has found a way to put part of him on it.

“I think he plays for his brother,” of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Mike Yur­cich said. “I think there’s a part of him ... they’re kinda one. They’re tight at the hip. They’re re­ally close. I think there’s def­i­nitely some fuel there.”

That fuel could lead to his­tory.

After James Wash­ing­ton won it a year ago, the Cow­boys could be the first team to have dif­fer­ent play­ers win the Bilet­nikoff Award in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons. Wal­lace would be the eighth un­der­class­man to take home the Bilet­nikoff and make OSU the first pro­gram with four win­ners.

“The kid’s su­per con­sis­tent, man,” Yur­cich said. “He prac­tices ex­actly how he plays. The same great catches you see on Satur­day, you see on Tues­day, you see on Wed­nes­day.

“Prac­tice, he does it. Block­ing, he does it. He’s a com­plete re­ceiver.”

All Su­per­man is miss­ing is Bat­man.

[PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Ok­la­homa State re­ceiver Ty­lan Wal­lace, a fi­nal­ist for the Bilet­nikoff Award, has ex­celled in his sopho­more sea­son, while his twin brother, Tracin, has missed most of the sea­son be­cause of an ACL in­jury.

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

Ok­la­homa State’s Ty­lan Wal­lace fin­ished his sopho­more sea­son with 1,408 yards and 11 touch­downs on 79 re­cep­tions.

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