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Porter: The Five Best Players of the Mike Gundy Era

All the wide receivers.



There are a million posts we could write, and by the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, we may end up writing every single one of them. You can do top 10 lists of Markel Brown dunks. You can do top 10 lists of Markel Brown Jordans. You could spend a week alone on Markel Brown. Markel Week. Maybe we will.

But one of the better content-creating questions I’ve seen during this pandemic came from the Sports Animal. I had a text convo with Jake Trotter about it, and wanted to lay out my full answer here on the site (for posterity — and also for content).

Here’s the question.

This seems like it should be easy, but it’s not. First, let’s start with the non-negotiables (there aren’t as many as you might think).

Justin Blackmon — I have made (and will make) the case that he’s the best wide receiver in the history of college football. We probably bury the numbers a little bit because we lived them and experienced every game, but this is stupid. STUPID!

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Brandon Weeden — The best QB in school history. Owner of a 23-3 record as the starter. Commander of OSU’s only Big 12 title. I think watching Mason Rudolph’s career actually made me appreciate Weeden even more. Rudolph was really good — a pro, even — but he lacked that final gear Weeden seemed to have. This is as much of a no-brainer as Blackmon.

Those are all the non-negotiables. Those are the only two players every OSU fan has on their list. From there, it gets argumentative (which is the good stuff). You’re basically left with three of the following.

Dez Bryant
Joe Randle
Tylan Wallace
Russell Okung
Chuba Hubbard
Mason Rudolph
James Washington
Justice Hill
Darrent Williams
Brandon Pettigrew
Justin Gilbert
Kendall Hunter
Perrish Cox
Emmanuel Ogbah

So it comes down to how you want to define “top” players. To me, it means what they did or how they performed at Oklahoma State and not necessarily how much talent they possessed (or how highly they got drafted). Aside: Gundy would definitely tack on Pettigrew, Hunter and throw in Orie Lemon as his final three.

Let’s try to narrow mine down.

Dez Bryant — The apex wasn’t as elongated as you would have liked, but he was the first guy in the Gundy era where it was like, “Ohhhh … ok, this is different.” So in that sense, he probably gets elevated in a way other guys don’t just because he was first. Also he was an absolute freak that would have contended for a Heisman if he had played all four years. His junior year he was on pace for ~2000 all-purpose yards and 20 TDs. NBD.

James Washington — I honestly don’t want three receivers on here, but the numbers are too overwhelming. I mean look at this.

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He played in 51 games in his career and was an auto-20 yard reception throughout. The President wasn’t quite at the talent level as the first three guys on this list, but he was so perfect for what OSU wanted to do and what Rudolph was good at. I think he has to be on here for me, although I won’t blink if he’s not on yours.

Chuba Hubbard — Depending on the day, I could have gone with any other name on the list. The actual answer is probably Russell Okung — especially given his tenure in the NFL (although, again, I’m doing college only here) — but I’d rather use my last 200 yards talking Chu. I tried to get Joe Randle and Kendall Hunter on here, but then I thought, “Wait, Justice might be better than both.” Then I thought, “And Chuba is better than Justice.” So here we are.

His 2019 season is peerless (non-Barry division) in OSU school history. And all of that without a consistent QB performance throughout the year. Two straight years of 6+ yards per carry is straight silly, and if he does anything at all in the 2020 season (if there is a season), he’ll elevate himself to that Weeden-Blackmon level of no-doubters on all future lists.

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