OSU football: As classes begin, Taylor Cornelius is Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback -- with Dru Brown the backup

August 20, 2018

STILLWATER — In Mike Gundy’s first 13 years as head coach, two fifth-year seniors entered the season opener as starting quarterback: Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden.

In all likelihood, Taylor Cornelius will make it three in a week-and-a-half.

As Oklahoma State closed the camp portion of preseason on Sunday and got ready to begin classes Monday, Gundy revealed the state of the Cowboys’ quarterback depth chart.

While Cornelius’ last start in a competitive game was a Texas Class 2A playoff game against Wall High School in November 2013, he has done nothing to lessen his hold on the starting job this August.

Oklahoma State is moving forward with Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown as his No. 2. True freshman Spencer Sanders is third, while sophomore Keondre Wudtee is fourth.

Gundy was succinct to sum up why Cornelius is the guy to lead the offense against Missouri State on Aug. 30.

“Taylor knows this offense as well as anyone that’s ever been here,” Gundy said.

Given his number of semesters on campus, it’s hard to argue. While Gundy has had a number of fifth-year seniors start or become starters midseason — in addition to Robinson and Weeden, Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh come to mind — Cornelius is the only one who spent his first four seasons on the sideline, studying and waiting for his chance.

“He’s intelligent,” Gundy said. “He gets it. But when you’re here as long as he is, you’re almost just going to figure it out after a couple years. It generally takes four semesters to pick it up and be able to spit it back out in a game.”

Brown has risen to second despite being on campus for less than a month.

It’s a credit to his experience; Brown played in 25 games over two seasons at Hawaii.

But he has also proven to be a quick learner.

“It still amazes me that Dru and Spencer can absorb and be as productive as they can only being here for 15 days,” Gundy said.

Sanders is slightly behind Brown because of maturity, Gundy said.

But they’re both behind Cornelius, whose story from walk-on to starter could reach its apex soon.

“You can tell the way he reads the defense, he’s always very quick with it, makes his reads very quickly as well,” said receiver Dillon Stoner, who also lives with Cornelius this year. “He knows the offense really well and I think he’s going to have a big year.”

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