We’re a little less than two hours away from Oklahoma State facing off against Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl but the Pokes got a big surprise from one of their best defenders first.
Senior linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez told Marshall Levenson of The Pokes Report that he will return to OSU for another year. The NCAA previously ruled that the 2020 season would not count toward any player eligibility wise which provides for Rodriguez to return. The news was confirmed by Dave Hunziker on the Cowboy Radio Network.
Malcolm Rodriguez has told us that he will return to Oklahoma State next season. Great news!— Dave Hunziker (@Gopokesvoice) December 29, 2020
Rodriguez is one of the best defenders on a Cowboy defense that is one of the best of the last decade. The Wagoner, Okla. native has recorded 73 tackles and a career-high three sacks, and two forced fumbles this season. The Oklahoma State defense has allowed more than 40 points just three times this season; an overtime loss to Texas, a road loss to Oklahoma, and a home win against Texas Tech.
The return of Rodriguez at linebacker is perhaps most important given that the Pokes have four senior linebackers. Starter Amen Ogbongbemiga and backups Devin Harper and Calvin Bundage could be gone next season. There will be plenty of new faces at linebacker next season and Rodriguez will bring much-needed experience to the hardest hit position group in terms of talent leaving.