FILE - In this Saturday, April 15, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph throws during an intra squad spring NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State believes Rudolph has a shot at the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Sue Ogrocki AP
FILE - In this Saturday, April 15, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph throws during an intra squad spring NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State believes Rudolph has a shot at the Heisman Trophy. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Sue Ogrocki AP

Sports

Is a former local high school quarterback a potential top 2 NFL draft pick and a legit Heisman candidate? You bet

By Langston Wertz Jr.

lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

August 31, 2017 10:59 PM

FILE - In this July 18, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph smiles while giving an interview during the Big 12 NCAA college football media day in Frisco, Texas. Oklahoma State believes quarterback Mason Rudolph has a shot at the Heisman Trophy. He made an early impression in the tenth-ranked Cowboys win over Tulsa on Thursday night, Aug. 31. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LM Otero AP

Remember Mason Rudolph, the kid who played quarterback at Rock Hill’s Northwestern High School from 2012-14? Well, he’s a legitimate candidate to win the Heisman Trophy and to be the first quarterback picked in the 2018 NFL draft.

A few weeks back, Rudolph was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine for its college football preview. Sports Illustrated touted Rudolph -- who threw for 4,091 yards, 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions last season -- and receiver James Washington as the nation’s top pass-catch duo. This week, a CBS Sports’ mock draft had Rudolph going No. 2 to the 49ers.

Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph, who played high school football in Rock Hill, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated this fall
AP

Is the hype real? Well, yes.

In his first game this season, one that was on national television Thursday, Rudolph hit 8-of-9 passes to start the game for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He never let up. He finished 20-for-24 for 303 yards and three touchdowns in an 59-24 win over Tulsa. And he ran for a score.

He didn’t play the fourth quarter.

And Twitter showed him a lot of love.

Mason Rudolph out here droppin dimes pic.twitter.com/U9hpnYovlr

— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 1, 2017

300-yard passing games in #okstate history



1. Brandon Weeden: 16

2. Mason Rudolph: 13

3. J.W. Walsh: 5

3. Josh Fields: 5

3. Zac Robinson: 5

— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 1, 2017

Even before the game, Rudolph seemed calm amidst all the expectations for himself and his team, seen as a college football playoff possibility.

"I'm ready to go," Rudolph told the Associated Press. "It's been a long off-season. It's been fun. We got a lot of good work, a lot of good practice, we've fine-tuned it and we're ready to go."

In his last game before Thursday, he passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns in an Alamo Bowl win over Colorado last season then chose to return for his senior season, fueling talk about Oklahoma State seeking Big 12 and national titles.

Northwestern faces Stratford in the Class AAAA Division II state championship football game in Columbia Saturday. Northwestern quarterback Mason Rudolph looks to throw.
Andy Burriss aburriss@heraldonline.com

In high school in Rock Hill, Rudolph made two all Charlotte Observer teams and threw for 10,986 career yards and 132 touchdowns. Rivals.com rated him a four-star recruit and the nation’s ninth best pro-style quarterback in his class.

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