Former Northwestern High star and potential first-round pick Mason Rudolph was back in South Carolina on Thursday as he was honored as the Blanchard-Rogers Trophy recipient by the South Carolina Football Hall of Fame.
Rudolph had a record-breaking career as a quarterback at Oklahoma State after signing with the Cowboys for the class of 2014, choosing OSU over offers from Virginia Tech, Louisville Ole Miss and others.
He was not offered by in-state schools South Carolina and Clemson. The Tigers signed Deshaun Watson as their quarterback for that class. USC pursued Drew Barker as its priority target (he ended up at Kentucky) and the Gamecocks signed Michael Scarnecchia.
Rudolph was asked if he had a chip on his shoulder during his college career after not being offered by the in-state schools, and he said he still hasn't forgotten about not being offered by the Gamecocks.
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“Clemson obviously had their guy committed. I didn’t feel bad about that, but I did always want to play against South Carolina, whether it was in a bowl game or by the grace of God we would get them in a pre-conference game and beat the crap out of them, which I know we would have,” Rudolph said. “I think if you asked Steve (Spurrier) about that he would have liked to make a different decision, but he didn’t like me for whatever reason back then and hey, it worked out… No problem in my eyes. I don’t hold grudges, I just definitely keep a chip on my shoulder.”
Rudolph’s father, Brett Rudolph, remembers the recruiting process well. He said that he tried to get South Carolina to recruit his son and Rudolph came down with some Northwestern teammates to a camp, but the Gamecocks were not impressed.
Rudolph ended up being rated a four-star prospect and the No. 269 player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
“I remember we came down and a bunch of kids from Northwestern came down to the camp. I remember I wrote Steve Spurrier Jr. after the camp and said, ‘Look, we’ll gladly come down again if you need to take another look at him,’ and we never heard back,” Brett Rudolph said. “So you move on. Recruiting is a funny thing.”
Ending up at Oklahoma State worked out fine for Mason in the end as he is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2018 NFL draft. Still, Brett wonders what would have happened had South Carolina offered.
“We’re thankful with the way it worked out. There’s no doubt in our minds that he was supposed to go to Oklahoma State, and it worked out beyond our wildest dreams,” Brett Rudolph said. “Having said that, it was 17 hours away, a time zone, and so having him closer to home would’ve been great. But the good news is our other son (Logan) is closer to home now too (at Clemson), and we’re thankful for that.”