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Rodriguez Could Change a Top-5 List That Has Stood for 32 Years

Rodriguez has a chance to make history in 2021.

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[Photo via Joshua Cleary]

The Cowboys’ Top 5 career tackle list has been unchanged since Sim Drain cracked it in 1989.

That year, Drain knocked John Little (1967-69) down to sixth on Oklahoma State’s career list, and ever since it has read:

No. Name Total Tackles Years Active
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

But for the first time in 32 years, it could change in 2021.

Super senior Malcolm Rodriguez has 279 total tackles through his 42 games as a Cowboy, leaving him 90 tackles away from the rarified air.

Rodriguez led OSU with 82 tackles in OSU’s COVID-shortened 2020 season. He averaged 7.5 tackles a game in his first of two senior seasons. If he does that during the Cowboys’ 12-game 2021 regular season, he would have 90 tackles, the exact amount he needs to tie Drain.

As a junior in 2019, Rodriguez led the Cowboys with 103 total tackles, so there is precedent to suggest Rodriguez could knock Drain down to No. 6.

As things stand, Rodriguez isn’t even in the Top 10 in OSU’s career tacklers, another list that doesn’t change all too often. Jordan Sterns (No. 7 with 325 tackles) is the only player on the list who has played since 2010. Rodriguez cracks the Top 10 with 40 tackles this year.

Naysayers will point to the fact that with the extra year, no wonder Rodriguez found his way on the list. It’s a valid argument, but it should also be noted that Rodriguez played only six games as a true freshman in 2017, and he lost two nonconference games in 2020 to the pandemic. So it isn’t as if he’ll finish his career having played 65 games or something ridiculous.

The extra year or not, a list that has stood for 32 years changing feels like a big deal.

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