After a year of being a walk on, Ovgard earns scholarship

Gabe Ovgard

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

While spending the 2015 season as a role player not on scholarship, Ovgard now gets a full ride for the 2016 season.

Oregon State safety Gabe Ovgard, fresh off his redshirt freshman season on the football team, had a pleasant surprise this morning in between a weightlifting season and conditioning workout when head coach Gary Andersen announced in front of the team that Ovgard had been put on scholarship. The 5-foot-10, 192-pounder arrived from Klamath Falls came to OSU as a walk-on wide receiver before switching to safety this season, started two games and had an interception of California quarterback Jared Goff.

I caught up with him Monday a few hours after he learned about getting his scholarship.

How did the scholarship announcement go and what was going through your mind at the time?

“I woke up (Monday morning), got the early lift. I was pretty tired, didn’t feel great so I kind’ve drug myself into the lift and got done with that. We went into the indoor facility for the run and (defensive backs coach Derrick) Odum kept smiling at me. I wasn’t sure what was going on. Then (defensive back) Devin Chappell started smiling at me, so I knew something was going on but I just thought they were laughing at me or something. Coach Andersen called the whole team up and said we’re going to play a game. They had some guys choose some names out of a hat and get a prize. They pulled mine out and it was in a little bigger envelope. I thought it was something pretty good. I was trying to peek over (offensive lineman) Dustin Stanton’s shoulder, he was the one reading it. I couldn’t really see other than the “2016,” that’s all I saw. Coach Andersen said something like, “Oh. I wasn’t expecting that.” So he read it off. I was going to cry, but I didn’t really have a chance to because the team thankfully swarmed me.”

Being a walk-on for two years, what does a scholarship mean for you?

“It’s huge. I’ve thought about it since the moment I got up here. It’s something that I’ve wanted and really something that I’ve needed and something my family has needed. Especially to the point that I’m at right now. Just hearing that couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s such a blessing from God to be able to have that.”

How did the conditioning workout go immediately after you learned about your scholarship?

“I had to refocus real quick, which was tough. I was going through (drills) and I was making a few mistakes. I was a little distracted, but after the first couple drills I kind’ve calmed down and started to get back into the moment.”

How did calling your family and friends go?

“As soon as I got in the locker room, I grabbed my phone and called my mom and dad first. My mom’s a teacher, she was in school with her class. She started crying. I kind’ve figured she would So she told her class, then I called my dad, my brothers and a couple other people.”

Is the financial side of the scholarship most important to you or the roster spot security and coaches showing their recognition for your hard work?

“I would say both. The security on the team — the coaches do a great job of that with everyone. They’ve treated me so well the whole time I’ve been here. The security on the team has never been in question. Just to have this gives me that much more confidence and inspires me that much more to work harder. And financially it’s major.”

Did you have to work jobs before this to pay for school?

“I started last week – I was going to work until spring break — at Stover Neyhart’s Accounting firm. I worked there this summer as well. That’s kind’ve how I got by when I needed a little extra money.”

With the scholarship in mind, what are your personal goals through next season?

“The scholarship doesn’t change too much in the fact that I still want to be a starter, I still want to be a major contributor to this team. I want to help the team in whatever way I can, and this is more incentive and drive for me to be able to do that.”

Has anything else been significant for you this offseason?

“It’s actually been a bit of a trial so far. I worked out the first three weeks and it was going well, and then I found out that I had mono. No one I knew had it, so it kind’ve came out of nowhere. The last four or five weeks I’ve been battling that. Last week was kind’ve my first week back. So I’ve been trying to get healthy, and to come back to this was pretty special.”

On Twitter @BrightTies

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