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Why Mason Rudolph Came Back to School: ‘I Want to Leave a Legacy’



Mason Rudolph announced he was going to return to school last year in a video filmed under some bleachers in San Antonio as he and James Washington prepared to roast Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. The announcement was not a shock, but it was still thrilling to realize that Oklahoma State would take its second great shot at a national championship because QB1 returned to school.

Last week at Big 12 Media Days, Rudolph explained the process of entering and then eventually exiting the NFL Draft. He noted that when you put your name in the NFL Draft, you receive a grade from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee.

To help both the clubs, who want NFL-ready players in the Draft, and the student-athletes, who are looking to enter the Draft early, the NFL relies on its College Advisory Committee. The Committee, which includes high-level personnel evaluators from NFL clubs and directors from the league’s two sanctioned scouting organizations (National Football Scouting and BLESTO), advises underclassmen on their draft prospects before they make a formal request to the league to join the Draft. [NFL Operations]

Rudolph got a mixed bag of answers.

“It’s either a first, second or go back to school grade,” he said. “I got a go back to school grade, but it was different because of the six number grades I got. It was 1, 1, 4, 4, 5 and 7 or something like that. I was like, ‘Well, that’s a little bit skewed, that’s kind of all over the place.’

“Usually you’re supposed to stick with that. In a sense, even if I would have had a first or second round grade, I probably would have stayed just because that’s the way I felt in my heart. I want to leave a legacy at Oklahoma State. I want to win a Big 12 Championship, and I want to graduate. There was a lot of factors, and I probably wanted to stay anyway.

“I don’t know if I was ready at that point.”

He then pulled something Peyton Manning once said out of the mental archives and applied it to this upcoming season for Oklahoma State, one that has the potential to be historically relevant.

“I remember Peyton Manning talking at Oklahoma State a couple of years ago, talking about ‘the NFL will always be there. Your college experience, your senior year, I really enjoyed.’ It made sense and I think, I felt I wanted to leave a legacy here at Oklahoma State. I want to be able to enjoy my senior season and then attack the NFL whenever that comes my way.”

Rudolph was then asked about what it would mean for his return to result in a Big 12 championship.

“It would mean a lot, I think, with our school, Oklahoma State only being there one time, it would mean a lot,” said Rudolph. “Our team would go down history. It would be something to always come back for and remember. I won a state championship my senior year of high school and that’s something I hadn’t done my first two years. So, I think I’m motivated by that and that’s kind of the sole goal that’s in the forefront of our team’s mind.”

I don’t know if Rudolph would have actually returned had he received a first-round grade. I kind of think if you get the grade, you go. How many times do you have a chance to become a millionaire in your life? What I do know is that he didn’t get that grade and he’s back for another season. One that he hopes (along with the rest of us) has a fairytale ending.

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