Continuing our series counting down Oklahoma State’s most important players in 2013.
No. 12: J.W. Walsh
Last season showed how crucial it is to have a capable backup quarterback, particularly in the pass-happy Big 12.
But last season also showed that Walsh, when healthy, will get on the field for OSU, regardless of if he’s filling in as the starter or not.
The stretch run of 2012 finally gave us a real glimpse of Walsh’s short-yardage and goal-line package — did we ever come up to a consensus on the name? Walshing machine? 4 Wheeler? — as he bulldozed and scampered his way to four rushing touchdowns over the Cowboys’ final four games. He also tossed two touchdown passes out of that formation during that span.
It will be interesting to see how this package evolves in 2013, particularly with the way new offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich’s former quarterback at Shippensburg (Zach Zulli) was a threat to run the football.
Walsh does not posses premier arm strength or accuracy, which are critical to directing OSU’s Air Raid spread offense. But his athleticism and savvy playmaking ability give the Cowboy offense an extra dimension, while his leadership and toughness are qualities teammates clearly feed off of.
And, of course, Walsh has proven he can step into emergency duty when needed and win games in the Big 12 — even while playing with a fracture on the side of his knee cap.
Here’s our countdown so far:
13. Jake Jenkins, center
12. J.W. Walsh, quarterback