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Malcolm Rodriguez Leads Country in Tackles Per Game Through Two Weeks

‘He’s tough as hell.’

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Photo: Devin Wilber/PFB

STILLWATER — Malcolm Rodriguez is on pace to crack into the Top 10 in career tackles in Oklahoma State history this week, a list that has been unchanged since Jordan Sterns’ 2016 season.

Through two games in 2021, Rodriguez has 28 (or 29 depending on the source) total tackles. His 14 (or 14.5) tackles per game leads the FBS. Not bad for the No. 1,529 player in the 2017 recruiting class.

“I play on the same side as him — he grabs everything,” OSU safety Kolby Harvell-Peel said. “Selfishly, I want to make a couple more plays, but he’s just grabbing everybody — everybody that runs through gaps, he’s hip-tossing linemen. I don’t know what makes Malcolm so great. It might just be his intangibles. He’s smart. I know that’s a big part of it. He’s smart. He’s a great tackler.

“He’s tough as hell. I really appreciate Malc, and he’s a great player. I don’t know why he’s so great, but he is.”

Rodriguez had 13 tackles on OSU’s victory against Tulsa on Saturday. After the game, Cowboy defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said Rodriguez is “almost like a son” to him. Knowles said Rodriguez knows how he thinks.

The sample size this season is small, but Rodriguez is on pace to have 168 regular season tackles. That would be the fourth-most in a season in program history.

If he hit that 168 number, he’d finish the regular season with 447 career tackles. That would slide him in front of Leslie O’Neal for fourth on OSU’s career tackle list. A bowl game performance could move him into the Top 3 in career tackles, a list that hasn’t changed since 1982.

OSU’s Career Tackle List
Place Name Total Tackles Years
1 John Corker 496 1976-79
2 Mike Green 485 1979-82
3 Ricky Young 451 1978-81
4 Leslie O’Neal 393 1982-85
5 Sim Drain 369 1986-89
6 John Little 332 1967-69
7 Jorden Sterns 325 2013-16
8 Andre Sexton 320 2005-09
8 Phillip Dokes 320 1973-76
10 Paul Duren 319 2002-05

“[Knowles] just puts us in the right position,” Rodriguez said. “He said always run to the ball, so that’s all I’m doing, just keep running to the ball, getting a hat in there.”

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