'Big dude with a mullet': How Josh Sills settled in quickly — on the field and off — with OSU football
STILLWATER — Josh Sills couldn’t visit his future home.
When he decided to leave West Virginia as a graduate transfer, his time to make a choice on his next school was limited, and an official visit was off the table because of recruiting rules at the time.
“It was a dead period,” Sills said.
So, as he sought out his next stop as a college football player, he had to rely on phone conversations.
Already holding an undergraduate degree from West Virginia in agribusiness management, Oklahoma State jumped out to him because of its nationally respected agriculture department.
He began the recruiting process through conversations with head coach Mike Gundy, offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn and line coach Charlie Dickey.
“I could tell right away that they were straight-up forward. There weren’t any pulled punches,” Sills said. “Those are people I wanted to be around.
“They obviously had the right people to set me up for the best possible situation for my future.”
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Sills, a 6-foot-6, 326-pound offensive guard, made his decision to come to Oklahoma State to finish his college football career having been to the campus only once — when West Virginia lost to OSU at Boone Pickens Stadium in 2018.
Now 10 months into his time as a Cowboy, Sills has seen that his decision was even better than he could have imagined.
“It has been everything I had hoped for, and above and beyond,” Sills said. “The relationships I have built here will truly last a lifetime.
“I think the biggest thing that has helped me is that I enjoy hard work. Both my parents instilled that in me at a young age watching them. We didn’t always have the best thing or the nicest thing, but they always made sure that my sister and I had what we needed. Seeing that and being around that shaped me into the person I am today.”
That mentality made Sills a perfect fit on Dickey’s offensive line.
“Being around these guys, they’re the same way,” Sills said. “They come in every day. They do everything they’re supposed to at the best of their ability, at a high rate of speed. And those are the people I want to be around, because that’s what brings out the best in you each day.”
Others point to more personal factors that endeared Sills to his teammates and coaches as well.
Things like his love for hunting and fishing, and his personality — both as a leader when things are serious and a comedian when things are not so serious.
“Big dude with a mullet,” fellow offensive lineman Hunter Anthony said. “Josh is a jokester, so he’s always got a joke about something.
“He’s become a really big leader as well, being a really solid dude. It was a really good mesh.”
Sills’ ascension as a vocal leader was evident on a recent episode of the ESPN+ documentary series “Our Time: Oklahoma State Football” in which he was shown trying to fire up the rest of the linemen at halftime of the Tulsa game, when the Cowboys had struggled to move the football.
On a line in which the other veterans, like Teven Jenkins and Ry Schneider, are more the lead-by-example types, Sills fit it ideally as the vocal one. And his high level of play made that transition possible.
Through three games, Sills ranks ninth among all offensive guards in college football according to Pro Football Focus analytics.
Simply put, he’s been the total package for OSU.
“Josh has a unique personality and people — players and coaches — kind of migrate to that personality,” Gundy said. “He works hard. He’s got a little bit of a throwback, tough-guy image. Players like him. He’s very personable, and over a period of time, the players started responding to his enthusiasm.
“He enjoys huntin’. He enjoys fishin’. He likes the college town environment. I think he feels very comfortable here.”