The past year of Oklahoma State athletics has sent fans and media alike on a wild goose chase. Some of the teams were fine, like baseball, who reached expectations. While others, like football, bottomed out after five games only to find the spark plug it needed with three games left.
One thing was common in the trend of every team, though. That is the youth that flooded the orange and black. Cowboys Ride For Free has put together a list of outstanding freshman who played and had an impact on their teams during the 2014-15 season. Some of these barely played, others played from the first game to the last.
Freshman of The Year Nominees
The Cowboy football team had a rough year, until freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph was finally allowed to play with three games left. Rudolph impressed in his first start while throwing just over 280 yards, picking up two touchdowns and two interceptions along the way. Although the Cowboys lost, there seemed to be a glimmer of hope on the sidelines, something fans hadn't seen the team beat Texas Tech. Rudolph then went on to being one of the few people to help lead Oklahoma State past the hated Sooners, clinching a bowl birth for a team who lost five games in a row at one point. Rudolph finished the year with 853 passing yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions in three games and is a big reason the Cowboys are expected to compete in the upcoming season.
The baseball team was almost the exact opposite of the football team coming into the season with high expectations after a stellar year. Chappell stepped in early when short stop Donnie Walton had to sit out for multiple weeks due to a broken wrist and played very well. The freshman from Guthrie, Oklahoma, started in 55 of the 58 games the Cowboys played, averaging .250 at the plate with 21 RBI and scoring 33 runs himself. His on base percentage was a solid .400 and was 100 percent when stealing bases (six attempts, six stolen). Although his fielding percentage was low at .919 while picking up a team high 15 errors, Chappell had the second most assists on the defensive end on the team with 123. Chappell was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman team.
At 21, Shine might be the oldest freshman on this list. Although Shine was a bench player and didn't exactly help the basketball team win games, he also wasn't the cause for the losses. Shine saw action on 32 games this year, averaging 13.1 minutes a game. The first wing player to come of the bench for the Cowboys, Shine proved to be the extra burst of energy the team needed at times, shooting 31.8 percent from the three. Shine picked up 16 steals on the year, the best among any of the bench players. His season ended averaging 3.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.5 steals per game.
Now it's time for the vote. The voting will be open until the end of the day on June 22, let the best freshman win. If you have another favorite freshman, simply vote "other" and comment with the name, position and team. If one freshman gets commented more than twice, we will edit them into the story and the voting.