The Oklahoma State Cowboys will look to follow up an outstanding 2015 season that resulted in a 10-3 final record with a Sugar Bowl appearance with another stellar season in 2016. And for the Cowboys to reach another double-digit win season and compete for a Big 12 Championship, many players will have to step up. This article will discuss the four most important players for Oklahoma State heading into the 2016 season.
Mason Rudolph (6-5, 235, Jr)
Oklahoma State starting quarterback Mason Rudolph has emerged as a standout quarterback among the Big 12. Rudolph has quickly developed into arguably the Cowboys’ most important player on offense and looks to continue on that path in 2016. In only three games in 2014, Rudolph threw for 853 yards and six touchdowns to four interceptions as a freshman. After taking over as Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback in 2015, Rudolph had a stellar season in which he accounted for 3,770 passing yards, 21 touchdowns to only nine interceptions and a 62.2 percent completion percentage. Expect Rudolph to get even better in 2016 and his importance to the Cowboys will only increase. For Oklahoma State to contend for a Big 12 Championship in 2016, Rudolph will undoubtedly play a key role in doing so.
James Washington (6-0, 205, Jr)
James Washington has developed into arguably Oklahoma State’s best wide receiver and looks to get even better in 2016. Through two seasons so far with the Cowboys, Washington has left a big impact on the Oklahoma State offense. In 2014 as a freshman, Washington racked up 28 receptions for 456 yards and six touchdowns. He followed up a stellar debut season at Oklahoma State with an even more impressive sophomore season in 2015, accounting for 53 receptions for 1,087 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning second team all-conference honors. With the returning Mason Rudolph at quarterback, expect Washington’s numbers to increase in 2016 and the duo of Rudolph to Washington could run roughshod on the Big 12. Washington will be leaned on heavily in 2016 and his significance is undeniable.
Jordan Burton (6-2, 215, Sr)
A major key of Oklahoma State’s defense in 2016 is linebacker Jordan Burton. The former junior college standout has made an immediate impact on the Cowboys and looks to make an even bigger impact in 2016. Following a transfer from the junior college ranks, Burton had an outstanding season in 2015. The talented linebacker accounted for 98 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3 ½ sacks and one interception, earning first team all-conference honors. Now as a senior, Burton looks to go out in style and have the best season of his college career. And if his past success has told us anything, expect nothing less. Burton’s impact on the Oklahoma State defense will loom large in 2016.
Jordan Sterns (6-0, 200, Sr)
Safety Jordan Sterns has had a highly productive career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys so far in three years. Now heading into his senior season, Sterns will be a key player on the Cowboys’ defense once again. In his freshman season in 2013, Sterns racked up 13 tackles in only eight games with limited playing time. He exploded onto the scene in 2014 and had a terrific sophomore season with 106 total tackles, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Sterns continued on his stellar path in 2015 with another great season in which he racked up 108 total tackles, 1 ½ tackles for loss and two interceptions, earning second team all-conference honors. Sterns should only get better during his senior season and will be a crucial piece of the Oklahoma State defense. Expect a memorable senior season for the talented safety as he looks to help guide the Cowboys into contention for a Big 12 Championship.