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Oklahoma State football: Mason Rudolph wants to start as a freshman

Rudolph’s high school coach says the freshman wants to be the Cowboys’ starter right now. “He doesn’t want to redshirt,” said Northwestern High School coach Kyle Richardson.
by Kyle Fredrickson Published: August 14, 2014

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State football coaches haven’t confirmed whether freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph will play or redshirt this season.

Rudolph — and every first-year Cowboy football player — is not permitted to talk with reporters, making it even more difficult to assess his potential role next season.

But ask Rudolph’s high school coach, Kyle Richardson at Northwestern in Rock Hill, S.C., and the four-star recruit’s thought process becomes clear.

“He wants to be the starter right now,” Richardson said in a phone interview Thursday. “He doesn’t want to redshirt.”

No big surprise. Rudolph ran an air-raid spread in high school seemingly identical in philosophy to offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich’s system. And coach Mike Gundy has said Rudolph is in the mix to play “situationally” this season if the strategy fits best.

What might seem surprising, though, is Richardson’s take on the situation.

“I’d like to see him redshirt,” Richardson said. “My view is from the point where we see the bigger picture.”

It’s not that he doesn’t think Rudolph is capable. Richardson said his former quarterback “could play at a young age” in the Cowboys’ offense and has the physical tools to succeed. But there are other variables at hand that could make sitting out a season beneficial.

“You can’t prepare yourself for the speed of the college game,” Richardson said.

And there’s more.

“He’s not going to walk into the huddle at 18-years-old and tell 23-year-olds what to do,” he continued. “It just doesn’t happen.”

But as the Aug. 30 Florida State opener approaches and the lingering questions as to who will play the majority of quarterback snaps this season go unanswered, Richardson recalled a similar position battle that took place on his field back in the fall of 2011.

That’s when Rudolph, then a high school sophomore, beat out a senior to become the starting quarterback at Northwestern.

Before that season, Rudolph was a freshman tight end at a private school in town. Richardson was able to convince Rudolph to transfer after witnessing his skills at a passing camp, and the promise he could one day win a state championship and become a college quarterback.

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by Kyle Fredrickson
OSU beat writer
Kyle Fredrickson became the Oklahoma State beat writer for The Oklahoman and in July 2014. A native Coloradoan, Fredrickson attended Western State College before transferring to Oklahoma State in 2010 and graduating in 2012. Fredrickson...
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