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Oklahoma State football: Why Mason Rudolph is capable of competing for the starting quarterback job as a freshman

Mason Rudolph has been running the Air Raid spread system at Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern High, and his high school coach believes he's physically ready to play at the college level.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: January 18, 2014

Opposing coaches took note of Rudolph's progression. Like Bobby Carroll, the current coach at nearby York who previously coached notable stars like projected top-10 NFL Draft pick Jadeveon Clowney and Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

“It's almost like the triple option,” Carroll said. “You've got to defend the pass. You've got to defend the tailback. Now you've got to defend the huge, strong quarterback.

“He just really developed from that junior to senior year as much as I've ever seen somebody do in the state of South Carolina.”

So why is Rudolph still a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail? Richardson points to two key reasons.

First, Rudolph was not very interested in the camp scene, where recruiting gurus often evaluate heavily and assign their star rankings. He even turned down an invitation to the Under Armour All-America game earlier this month.

“He didn't concern himself with those things in the offseason,” Richardson said. “He didn't chase the stars, he chased the ring, and that's what he got.”

Second, even in becoming a pass-run option as a senior, Rudolph still fights the “system quarterback” stigma.

But even if that were the case, he's certainly going to the right school for that system.

Rudolph has enrolled early at OSU to participate in spring practice, where J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garman, Richard Lagow and Jake Hubenak will also be vying for the starting job.

Richardson expects Rudolph's biggest adjustment to be the speed of the defense, and recognizing that windows he used to be able to throw through might not be open anymore. There also could be some different terminology, even though the overall concepts of the offense will be almost identical.

Like that Y-corner route.

“He chose Oklahoma State over LSU for those reasons,” Richardson said. “To come in and compete for a job the minute he gets there and be in the system that he could get into a spot to compete earlier because he knows (it).

“At this point, it's gonna be on him to go in and take advantage of whatever reps he can get early, and then from there, see what happens.”