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The Most Important Cowboy Football Players for 2017: No. 1

Did you honestly expect anyone else?

Texas v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Well folks. We did it. We made it to the end of our countdown of the 15 most important players for the upcoming Cowboy football season. We’ve had a few surprises (Lundblade at No. 4?) and a few no-doubters (dark-horse Heisman candidate Zach Sinor had to at least make the top 10).

It all led to what you probably knew would happen as soon as we started this countdown, but it’s damn near impossible to go in any other direction (although Phillip ran his best campaign and tried to sway the rankings to the bitter end).

Without further ado, our pick for the most important Cowboy for the 2017 season is....

No. 1 - #2 Mason Rudolph

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

It is often said the quarterback is the cog that makes the engine work. The Oklahoma State offense is no different. You could have an all-star wide receiving corps of Dez Bryant, Randy Moss, Antonio Brown, Jerry Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Owens, but none of them are worth a thing if they can’t get the ball in their hands. They needed a QB to get them the ball.

It is shaping up to be the exact same thing this year in Stillwater. James Washington, Jalen McCleskey, Marcell Ateman, Tyron Johnson and the rest of the Cowboy receivers are just waiting to go out there and make plays on Saturdays, but they need someone to get them the ball. Enter QB1.

Last season, Rudolph put up crazy-good numbers. (National ranking in parenthesis.)

  • 158.9 Passing Efficiency (10)
  • 28 Passing TDs (20)
  • 4,091 Passing Yards (8)
  • 314.7 Passing YPG (7)
  • 14.40 Yards per Completion (10)
  • .634 Completion Percentage (21)
  • 204 Points Responsible For (23)
  • 15.7 PRF per game (26)
  • 319.4 Total YPG (12)

Additionally, Rudolph only threw four interceptions on the year. Out of 448 passing attempts, only four fell into the wrong hands. That’s incredible. His 28:4 TD-to-INT ratio was best of all FBS quarterbacks in 2016.

He also had a few accolades to add to his trophy case last season, according to the OSU website.

  • 2016 Offensive Team MVP
  • 2016 Davey O’Brien Award Semifinalist
  • 2016 Johnny Unitas Award Semifinalist

According to the OSU website:

[Rudolph is] Already the owner of no fewer than 11 school records, he is in position to set OSU career records for pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns in the 2017 season and he also has a very real chance to finish his career as the most efficient passer in Oklahoma State history.

Rudolph is primed for the season of his career. There’s a lot of buzz about his final season, and there is good reason for it. The Oklahoma State Athletics is already so excited about the upcoming season, they have already started Rudolph’s Heisman campaign.

The success of one of the most highly-anticipated seasons in recent history all rests squarely on the shoulders of the man wearing No. 2 on offense.*

Something tells me he is up to the task.

*Yes, I have to add the “on offense” part. Darius Curry wears the same number on defense. That’s something I don’t like about college football - dual numbers.

So, that’s the end of our countdown. What did we get right? What did we get wrong? Who did we exclude that should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below. (Keep it clean though. We are a family site. If you really feel the need to call us every word in the book, my Twitter DMs are always open. I’ll pass the message along.)

All that’s left to do is enjoy the Spring Game! If you are headed into town to enjoy it live, check out some of the details. Read up on some things to watch for. If you won’t be in town, follow us on Twitter. Yours truly will be tweeting throughout the game (provided my cellular service isn’t awful), and who knows? Maybe a few videos will pop up on Snapchat (cell service yada yada).

Phillip and I would like to thank you for following us on our 15-day journey.


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
3. James Washington
2. Justice Hill