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The Most Important Cowboy Football Players for 2017: No. 3

Time to get down to the nit-picky part of our rankings.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

We have gone through 4/5 of our countdown, and the only three left are the three you probably figured it would be. The only question left is how do we rank the final three? Let me help you out.


No. 3 - #28 James Washington

Valero Alamo Bowl - Oklahoma State v Colorado Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

There. Now you only have to guess the final two! It may seem odd to put the preseason Biletnikoff Award favorite as third best on the team but, to be honest, you can make a case for any of the final three to be ranked numero uno.

Last season’s Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP made a lot of people happy when he and Mason Rudolph announced they would return for their senior seasons in the orange and black.

In his junior campaign, Washington caught 71 passes for 1,380 yards and 10 TDs. His 106.15 yards per game is over 40 more yards per game than Jalen McClesky (who owns the sixth spot on our countdown) who averaged 62.46 yards per game.

Here’s a list of Washington’s accolades from last season alone.

  • 2016 First-Team All-Big 12 (Associated Press)
  • 2016 First-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches)
  • 2016 Second-Team Academic All-Big 12
  • 2016 Thurman Thomas Award (OSU’s Outstanding Offensive Player)
  • 2016 Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP
  • 2016 Team Captain as Voted by Teammates

This past season, Washington joined elite company when he scored his 10th touchdown. He joins Justin Blackmon and Rashaun Woods as the only Cowboys to ever have double digits in touchdowns scored in multiple seasons.

Washington headlines the Cowboys’ vast multitude of receivers, and is also tabbed as the No. 1 returning receiver in college football heading into 2017 by ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg and by Athlon Sports, according to the OSU website.

In the Alamo Bowl, Washington had nine catches for 171 yards. Great day right? Now just imagine what his numbers would have looked like if he wasn’t forced to leave the game due to the hand injury in the third quarter.

He is the leading returner in the Power Five conferences with his 2,923 career receiving yards and his 26 career touchdowns.

ESPN ranked Washington as the best player on the 2017 team. We ranked him third. What’s the reasoning? Check back tomorrow and Saturday to find out.

We will be releasing the rest of our countdown each day leading up to the Spring Game April 15th. Check back every day to see who makes the list!

Top 15 Countdown:

15. Matt Ammendola
14. Backup Quarterback
13. Tyron Johnson
12. Marcus Keyes
11. Jarrell Owens
10. Zach Sinor
9. DeQuinton Osborne
8. Darius Curry
7. Chad Whitener
6. Jalen McClesky
5. Ramon Richards
4. Brad Lundblade