QB Cornelius prepares for 1st start for Oklahoma State
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State quarterback Taylor Cornelius‘ long wait is almost over.
The 6-foot-6 redshirt senior is set for his first career start in the Cowboys’ season opener next Thursday against Missouri State.
“He’s been great on the driving range,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “He hasn’t been on the first tee. He’ll get on the tee Thursday night, and we’ll find out where he’s at.”
Cornelius replaces Mason Rudolph, the longtime starter who now is with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornelius said he feels ready to take over, especially since he’s had Mike Yurcich as his offensive coordinator his entire stay with the program.
“Five years of knowing the system, and coach Yurcich’s system hasn’t changed that much,” Cornelius said. “You just know the playbook in and out. That’s a big help for me.”
Cornelius has completed 15 of 24 passes for 220 yards and has rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries in his career. His teammates have confidence he is ready for much more.
“I feel like he’s more than capable of being the quarterback,” running back Justice Hill said. “He has a great skill set, a great arm, he can run the ball. He’s going to be back there and he’s going to open things up for our offense.”
Cornelius said he doesn’t expect to have too many nerves heading into the game, though he expects a few butterflies near kickoff. Hill said that’s just the way Cornelius carries himself.
“He’s a mellow guy, but he still takes care of business when he has to,” Cornelius said.
Cornelius said he learned a lot as he watched Rudolph finish as Oklahoma State’s all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, completions and attempts. Rudolph finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting last season.
“That guy was a film rat, always in the film room,” Cornelius said. “I mean, at home, he’s watching it. He’s in early before practice, after practice. His preparation was unbelievable.”
Cornelius held off Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders to earn the job. Brown, a graduate transfer from Hawaii, is the No. 2 quarterback. Sanders, a freshman, will be No. 3. Cornelius said the challenge made him a better player. Brown started the previous two years at Hawaii, while Sanders was one of the nation’s top quarterback recruits.
“I think no matter where you go, you’re going to have QB competitions,” Cornelius said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at or what you’re doing. Competition’s always good for you and it helps you out in the long run.”
Cornelius said he never considered transferring. Hill was impressed with the fact that in an era of quarterbacks switching schools when they don’t start right away, Cornelius stayed put.
“Most guys would have probably left or done something else in that situation,” Hill said. “He’s just waiting on his moment. He’s not going to lay off the gas.”