Don’t Undervalue Taylor Cornelius

Written by Hayden Barber

Taylor Cornelius did not receive a football scholarship from the university he has pledged at least four years to or any other Division I university for that matter.

Division II schools came calling but he wanted to compete somewhere big. Since he got to school, there has been little to talk about when the name “Cornelius” came up. When students saw him on the field, all they would talk about was how lanky and awkward he looked.

There were rumors coach Mike Gundy picked him up at an intramural game, which were funny but not at all accurate. Here’s what is:

Cornelius comes from Bushland, Texas, a division 1-2A high school in the panhandle of Texas, America, and has been the picture of reliability at least since his prep school days.

In an article published last year, Kyle Fredrickson of The Oklahoman wrote about how in the 2013 state championship game, Cornelius’ Bushland coach was in a panic and sent the 6-foot-6, 218-pound mantis out at corner against the other team’s best player for one down at a crucial make-or-break point in the game.

On that one play, he nabbed an interception and iced the game.

Although he hasn’t gotten any kind of opportunity like that at OSU, believe he wouldn’t squander it if he had. He might not throw a crunch time touchdown or lead a 2-minute drill for the win, but Cornelius would not single-handedly spoil a game.

Consider his short stat line from 2016. Coming in late against Southern Louisiana and Kansas, Cornelius went a combined 7-of-9 for 64 yards. No passing scores but no picks. Also not to be undercut: He led the longest scoring drive of the season.

In the opener, Cornelius drove 90 yards on 15 plays. He conducted the offense on a drive that took 8:58 off the clock. That’s just good offense.

If Mason Rudolph gets injured, Cornelius will not step in and lead the offense with the same precision, pace, sexiness or success, but he would beat Kansas. He would probably beat Iowa State, Texas Tech and maybe even Baylor and TCU, too.

No one wants to see Cornelius this season. That would be a drag at this point, but if he has a chance to be the starter in 2018, there are undoubtedly worse situations to be in.

In a recent poll I ran on Twitter, some of you told me redshirt freshman Keondre Wudtee would start after Rudolph leaves.

Don’t forget Wudtee completed one pass on six attempts for a total of 6 yards in the spring game. It doesn’t get better the farther you go down the depth chart. Cornelius, however, went 5-for-9, totaling 77 yards with a passing touchdown.

Maybe Wudtee will get better. After watching through spring practice and the spring game, it will take time. Years. With Cornelius, you know what you’re getting.

And that cannot be undervalued.