Completing our series looking at the 13 most important players for the 2013 Oklahoma State season.
No. 1: Clint Chelf, quarterback
This, understandably, seems a bit predictable and anticlimactic. But immense responsibility, and thus, importance, comes with being the starting quarterback, particularly in an Air Raid spread offense like OSU’s.
Now, coach Mike Gundy’s recent comments that both Chelf and J.W. Walsh will play against Mississippi State (how much, exactly? That’s to be determined) could shift this list quite a bit. But for now, let’s still assume that Chelf will be the primary thrower for OSU this season.
Chelf’s rise from forgotten third-stringer to starter was more than a feel-good story. He was productive down the stretch for the Cowboys, making five consecutive starts and completing 60.4 percent of his passes for 1,588 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Chelf brings a veteran presence, great knowledge of the Cowboys’ system and mobility to go with his solid arm. He also has an easygoing personality that makes him well-liked by teammates and coaches.
Accuracy is the most important area of Chelf’s game that needs to improve. But with more extensive work with the first team in the spring and fall camp, that timing and chemistry with receivers should have developed.
The Cowboys are stacked at receiver — a group that includes vertical threats and guys who can make plays in space. If Chelf can distribute the ball to the correct targets, he’ll easily put up some of the best quarterback numbers in the Big 12.
Chelf doesn’t need to be Brandon Weeden for this offense to be successful. But the quarterback is the most crucial component. Which makes him the Cowboys’ most important player for 2013.
Here’s our entire countdown:
13. Jake Jenkins, center
12. J.W. Walsh, quarterback
11. Shaun Lewis, linebacker
10. Blake Jackson, inside receiver
9. Tyler Johnson, defensive end
8. Lyndell Johnson, strong safety
7. Tracy Moore, wide receiver
6. Calvin Barnett, defensive tackle
5. Justin Gilbert, cornerback/kick returner
4. Ben Grogan, kicker
3. Josh Stewart, inside receiver/punt returner
2. Jeremy Smith, running back
1. Clint Chelf, quarterback