Remember Mason Rudolph, the kid who played quarterback at Rock Hill’s Northwestern High School from 2012-14? Well, he’s a legitimate candidate to win the Heisman Trophy and to be the first quarterback picked in the 2018 NFL draft.
A few weeks back, Rudolph was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine for its college football preview. Sports Illustrated touted Rudolph -- who threw for 4,091 yards, 28 touchdowns with just four interceptions last season -- and receiver James Washington as the nation’s top pass-catch duo. This week, a CBS Sports’ mock draft had Rudolph going No. 2 to the 49ers.
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Is the hype real? Well, yes.
In his first game this season, one that was on national television Thursday, Rudolph hit 8-of-9 passes to start the game for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He never let up. He finished 20-for-24 for 303 yards and three touchdowns in an 59-24 win over Tulsa. And he ran for a score.
He didn’t play the fourth quarter.
And Twitter showed him a lot of love.
Even before the game, Rudolph seemed calm amidst all the expectations for himself and his team, seen as a college football playoff possibility.
"I'm ready to go," Rudolph told the Associated Press. "It's been a long off-season. It's been fun. We got a lot of good work, a lot of good practice, we've fine-tuned it and we're ready to go."
In his last game before Thursday, he passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns in an Alamo Bowl win over Colorado last season then chose to return for his senior season, fueling talk about Oklahoma State seeking Big 12 and national titles.
In high school in Rock Hill, Rudolph made two all Charlotte Observer teams and threw for 10,986 career yards and 132 touchdowns. Rivals.com rated him a four-star recruit and the nation’s ninth best pro-style quarterback in his class.