STILLWATER, Okla. — No matter who’s at quarterback, the offense has chugged right along this season for No. 22 Oklahoma State.
The engineer these days is Clint “Choo Choo” Chelf, the third-stringer who has gone from practically unknown to cult hero in a matter of weeks.
Once forgotten at the bottom of the depth chart, Chelf was thrust into the starter’s role after Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh both got hurt. After back-to-back wins in the first two starts of his career, Chelf is the starter after coach Mike Gundy spent the past two months trying to keep it a secret who’d take the snaps from game to game.
“Whatever train he’s driving, I’m getting on,” Gundy said Monday.
The “Choo Choo” Chelf concept was sparked by a profanity-laced Internet post that was jokingly attributed to him leading up to Oklahoma State’s game against West Virginia two weeks ago. With uncertainty over whether Lunt would be able to play, the possibility arose that Chelf would finally get a real chance after backing up first-round NFL draft pick Brandon Weeden the past two seasons.
A Chelf-related hashtag trended on Twitter as he threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns in the win over the Mountaineers, and center Evan Epstein only encouraged it after the game with his tweet: “All Aboard!”
“I think it’s hilarious,” Chelf said. “I think it’s great any time they can take something and run with it. It just happens to be about me, I guess. I think it’s funny.”
Making it all the more comical is that the boisterous, all-caps expletive rant couldn’t be more different from Chelf’s actual mild-mannered, unassuming personality. When asked if he was looking forward to starting in the Bedlam game, Chelf answered simply: “Absolutely.”