Yesterday we went through Nos. 10-6 on our list for the top return men in Oklahoma State history.
Let’s get to our top five.
No. 5 Tyreek Hill
During his lone season in Stillwater, Hill averaged 24.7 yards on 30 kickoff returns. That’s the fifth-highest average for a season at OSU. His two kick return touchdowns still leaves him tied for fourth-best for a season at OSU.
Another guy you just wanted to see with the ball. He was the featured returner on both kickoffs and punts but his punt return average was a pedestrian 9.5 yards. But he had a pretty big one you might remember. That 92-yard punt return is the second-longest in OSU history and his 99-yard kickoff return at Kansas is alone in the No. 2 spot.
No. 4 R.W. McQuarters
McQuarters was the definition of a Renaissance man. As a freshman, he was the first OSU player in over 30 years to gain offensive yardage, return a kick and make tackles in the same game.
The Booker T. Washington product and Super Bowl champ averaged an impressive 23.4 yards on punt returns and 15.3 on kickoff returns. He was an All-Big 12 punt returner in 1997. He gets points for his overall production and being featured in both phases of the return game.
No. 3 Barry Sanders
The top 3 are not only elite athletes and playmakers, they’re separated by a razor-thin margin. I’m sure I’ll get a couple of comments on the Barry sacrilege but since looking strictly at the return game, production had to be weighed.
When Barry Sanders came to Stillwater, he knew he would be playing second fiddle. Another future Hall-of-Fame running back in Thurman Thomas was well on his way to stardom. Pat Jones stuck Barry behind Bobby Riley at both kick and punter returner and he quickly showed his all-world talent.
As a sophomore, Sanders led the Big 8 (No. 2 nationally) in punt return average and led the nation in kick return average. He is the only Oklahoma State player to score on multiple kick returns and multiple punt returns in the same season (1987).
Sanders recorded three of the school’s five 100-yard kickoff returns. He broke more NCAA records over his three-year college career than most players know exist. There’s little argument against his claim as best football player — if not athlete — to lay his head down in Stillwater.
No. 2 Justin Gilbert
Gilbert’s NFL career hasn’t quite panned out as of yet but that doesn’t take away from the special career he had while in Stillwater.
Gilbert holds the record for most kickoff returns in a season at OSU (32) and is the career leader in kickoff return touchdowns (6). His 2,681 career kick return yards ranks him second in both Oklahoma State and Big 12 history and his career kick return average of 26.3 is second in school history.
Gilbert lands at this spot because of his consistency and overall production. He had three of the top 10 OSU seasons in kick return average. He’s also the only Cowboy other than Barry Sanders to record a 100-yard kickoff return. Sanders had three. Gilbert recorded two.
No. 1 Perrish Cox
Cox had it all. The production. The big-play threat. Great name.
All of the top three on the list ended their careers with six return touchdowns which made it that much harder to separate them. But Cox gets the nod for his overall production and being the featured returner on both kickoffs and punts. It took a player like Dez Bryant to usurp Cox in punt returns and that was just for one year (2008).
Cox is the all-time leader in OSU and Big 12 history in kickoff return yardage (2,804) and lands at the top of my list. More importantly, any time he caught the ball off another team’s foot, you knew there was a chance you were about to see something special.
This doesn’t hurt either.
Click for the TD. Stay for an all-time call from Brent Musburger.
“And Bullet — exhausted.”