Do you believe in the theory of visualizing how you want things to happen. You see it in your mind and then you make it happen. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph not only sees it, but he likes to do it over and over again in the summer and make it happen for real and with the planned success in the fall.
Mason Rudolph committed to Oklahoma State back in June of 2013 and then the senior quarterback at Rock Hill Northwestern High School got right back to work. Seeing no need to hit any of the Nike, Under Armour, or other camps or combines and not needing to show off for any college coaches, his destination to Stillwater already confirmed, Rudolph spent the summer throwing to his receivers at Northwestern that included slot receiver Dupree Hart, Quadarius Fair, and even his freshman brother Logan, who is now on scholarship at Clemson.
The work paid off as Northwestern, under the leadership of head coach Kyle Richardson and Rudolph at quarterback, went unbeaten, a perfect season capped with a 62-35 win over Stratford and current Iowa State quarterback Jacob Parks in the South Carolina Class 4A Division II Championship Game. Rudolph completed 40-of-57 passes in the title game for 488-yards and eight touchdown passes with just one interception. Rudolph finished his senior season completing an amazing 350-of-482 passes for a 72.6 completion percentage and 4,377-yards with 64 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. He also ran for 543-yards and 16 touchdowns.
Video game numbers and he wasn't even running a spread offense in the Big 12 Conference yet. Rudolph made a "Peyton Manning" type of commitment to his team and now that he actually knows and has taken notes from Peyton Manning, he is even more in tune and in a place to make a massive commitment to his senior college season at Oklahoma State. Rudolph, admits that the scenario is similar to what took place four-years ago in South Carolina.
"It was a work in progress during my sophomore and through my junior and into my senior season," Rudolph said of high school quarterbacking the Northwest Trojans. "We had a lot of seniors and a lot of talent that season, and like you said it is a bit of a parallel to that, a lot of seniors, a lot of talent leading into the season."
Rudolph, who like his teammates just went home for a few weeks before summer schools starts, is recharging the batteries, but Rudolph speaks of not being able to wait to get back and begin the running and the working out, the throwing and preparing for the upcoming season. During the summer, Rudolph will take his final opportunity to go to Thibodaux, La., and be a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy. That will be the only days you can expect that Rudolph will miss throwing to his own receivers and plotting the plays that will pace the Cowboys efforts to win the Big 12 and make the College Football Playoff this season.
Like he often does, Rudolph will assign the credit to those guys out there working with him.
"It makes my job easier. It's going to be a fun summer and a fun fall camp," Rudolph said of his stacked corps of receivers that he works with. "Their are so many targets out there and it is on my shoulders to distribute the ball to all of them."
"He's always done that, pushing us to run routes with him on the weekends," said one of those targets in slot receiver Jalen McCleskey. McCleskey knows a little bit about working hard having learned that at home from his father and former NFL player J.J. McCleskey. "(Mason) has always been zeroed in and working hard. This really isn't any different."
Truth is, it really is different. You can see on Rudolph's face and the way he talks, even in interviews with the media. There is more on the line here. His record as a starting quarterback in Stillwater is a very impressive 22-6 and he has in his mind how he wants the senior season to go. One last season to accomplish what he believes he and his teammates are capable of.
"His mentality, he's very intense," stated his offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. "I think what is important to him is the next ball game. He's proven that with his win-loss record (as a starting quarterback). He's a very team oriented guy and he wants his players to do well. He expects them to perform at a high level and he challenges them in a positive manner. He has improved with that and he wants to win and that starts with the first ball game next year."
The first, the second, the third, and every other one on the schedule and that can be added. It was 15-0 in his senior season in high school at Northwestern. No hype, just coincidence and maybe, a little more of that parallel. If Oklahoma State wins all their regular season games, wins a Big 12 Championship Game, and then wins two games in the College Football Playoff that would add up to 15.
Here's to senior seasons and those that prepare hard for them.