Is Mason Rudolph Ready To Play?

True freshman Mason Rudolph may be just one snap away from being Oklahoma State’s quarterback. Junior Daxx Garman will be the starter against Texas-San Antonio on Saturday night with J.W. Walsh out following surgery Thursday morning, which means Rudolph will be the backup. KFOR News Channel 4 in Oklahoma City reported that Walsh had surgery Thursday morning and is out indefinitely.

Garman, who came on to relieve Walsh after he got hurt in last Saturday’s game against Missouri State, will apparently start his first football game since 2009 when he was a junior at Jones (Okla.) High School. He was 16-of-26 passing for 244 yards and two touchdowns after replacing Walsh in OSU’s 40-23 victory over the Bears.

Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy spoke during his Monday news conference about the number of practice reps that Rudolph has been receiving as the third-team quarterback.

“Well, the good news is he’s been getting reps. So we will continue with the same number of reps that he’s gotten since the day he arrived here,” Gundy said.

But that was on Monday. The 6-4, 217-pounder from Rock Hill, S.C., certainly got a few more snaps with the first team after Gundy learned of the extent of Walsh’s injury.

However, when asked if Rudolph was ready to play in a college game, Gundy answered, “I don’t know yet. I don’t have to answer that question. I’m not saying that being detrimental to him. Just he is a freshman. That’s a big can of worms to open in a lot of different areas,” said Gundy.

“The good news is he’s been getting reps. He can function out there with the ones. He can go out and play with the ones, and direct traffic and do all the things that our quarterbacks do. He knows the plays, he knows the reads. Now that doesn’t mean in the heat of the moment he might not bust, but he knows what to do.”

Rudolph was one of the nation's top high school quarterbacks a year ago in leading his Northwestern High School team to the South Carolina Class 4A Division II state championship. He threw for 4,377 yards and 64 touchdowns while completing 72.6 percent of his pages with just eight interceptions as a senior. In the 62-35 victory over Stratford in the state title game, Rudolph was 40 of 57 for 488 yards and eight touchdowns.

Gundy is hoping he doesn't have to put the true freshman in the game because the Cowboys head coach knows what it’s like to be thrown into the heat of battle as a freshman. He was called upon midway through his freshman season and then went on to start for three more years in the 1980s.

“Mason is really doing good. He’s further ahead from a mental part than I ever was as a freshman because he got quality reps, and I didn’t get reps,” Gundy said. “I think he’ll be fine. He continues to learn. His attitude is good. He’s got a good work ethic.

“He’s got a really bright future. We’ll just have to wait and see whether that issue gets forced or we’re able to let the thing play out.”


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