The Mason Rudolph-James Washington connection is scary. However, Marcell Ateman“s return means teams should fear Oklahoma State football more than before.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph relied on a bevy of weapons in 2016, but 2017 will likely be even better. Oklahoma State loses two receivers in wide out Jhajuan Seales and versatile tight end Blake Jarwin. Nevertheless, the Cowboys bring back their top two wide receivers in James Washington and Jalen McCleskey.
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They also return senior Chris Lacy and 2015 starting receiver Marcell Ateman. This group was already powerful with the trio of Washington, McCleskey and Lacy but add in Ateman, and it’s likely the best group in college football.
In all, this group compiled 384 catches for 5,954 yards and 46 touchdowns in their careers. The receiving corp’s continuity and production will aid another strong season from Rudolph. Ateman’s comeback tour will add the most to the Cowboys’ passing game. He’s the biggest wide out in the Oklahoma State arsenal. At 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, he perfectly fits across Washington’s blazing quickness.
As I mentioned in a past article, he missed the entire 2015 season with a broken bone in his foot. Prior to the injury, he caught 45 passes for 766 yards and five touchdowns in his lone season as a starter. His size mixed with Lacy’s will create two big targets for Rudolph. The potential is truly limitless. All four of these players have never played on the field at the same time.
In 2017, they will. Ateman will have a lot to live up to due to the Cowboys’ past big wide receivers. OSU has a history of talented, physical wideouts (Dez Bryant, Justin Blackmon, Adarius Bowman). He already built up an impressive reputation in his first few years, but he needs to take another step forward to advance the offense further.
OSU’s running game led by Justice Hill will provide a brilliant balance allowing a lot of one-on-one opportunities on the outside. Ateman, Washington and Lacy will receive the majority of those benefits. Defenses will have fits trying to figure out the Cowboys’ offensive tendencies.