Versatile Rashod Owens thriving where Cowboys need him most

Versatile Rashod Owens thriving where Cowboys need him most

Heading into OSU’s matchup Saturday at West Virginia, Owens could be considered the team’s top receiver.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Oct 20, 2023, 3:00pm CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Oct 20, 2023, 3:00pm CDT

STILLWATER — Changing positions isn’t strange for Rashod Owens. He’s done it his whole college career.

“It’s not that challenging,” he said. “You know, one thing that coach (Kasey) Dunn loves is players that can play anywhere on the field. That helps him especially to be able to move guys around like me.”

Owens, a junior receiver, has more experience in the OSU offense than a lot of seniors, because he has seen it from all sides. He began his college career in 2020 as an inside receiver and played outside receiver the next season. Last season, coaches saw a need at Cowboy Back (think a tight end-fullback hybrid) and Owens’ role incorporated more blocking, leaving him less of an offensive focal point.

With receiver De’Zhaun Stribling out for the season with a left wrist injury and Iowa transfer Arland Bruce caught up in a gambling investigation and unable to play, OSU is short on receivers. So Owens got the nod.

Owens caught nine passes for 112 yards, both career-highs, last week against Kansas. His 12 targets were a career high, and it matched the 12 targets he got in 12 games last season.  He stacked it on top of a 75-yard game the previous week against K-State, and heading into OSU’s matchup this Saturday against West Virginia, could be considered the team’s top receiver.

“He done things that maybe some people didn’t expect that he could do,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “He’s defeating coverage at times. He’s making plays, he’s making guys miss and running down the field and he’s been a good team player for us. He’s been a good leader and certainly has been productive on the field.”

On his biggest play against Kansas, Owens got a free release on a slant. He broke across the face of corner Mello Dotson and caught the ball, shaking free of Dotson’s tackle. He ran along the hash for a gain of 40 yards, more yards than he gained in every game except one last season.

Big statlines have been in short supply for Owens the past two seasons because of his role in the offense. His 112 yards last Saturday led all OSU receivers in yards, something he hadn’t done in 29 games, when OSU played at Boise State in 2021.

Moving back to receiver has forced Owens to slim down. He said that’s been challenging. He weighs 225 pound now. To slim down, Owens said he hasn’t had to change how much he eats, he just has to be intentional about sweating in practice more.

“It’s kind of been strange,” Owens said. “Now that I’m strictly at receiver I’ve been trying to slim down more and more as the weeks go by. I think I’m at a good weight right now, so I’m pretty solid on that.”

Braden Cassity is a tight end (formally called Cowboy Back) who has watched Owens’ move between positions. He said Owens, who was part of a preseason trip to California to train and connect with quarterback Alan Bowman, had a fantastic offseason. Cassity said Owens’ routerunning has always been excellent, but Owens’ biggest strength is his knowledge of the game.

“I feel like moving from Cowboy Back, because we have to do everything, and getting moved back to receiver it really helps you understand the offense better if you understand (everything),” Cassity said.

Owens came into OSU as an athlete from Roosevelt High School in San Antonio. He weighed 185 pounds, perfect for speeding past receivers on the football field, shuttling on the basketball court and exploding in the triple jump 47 feet-four-inch triple jump, good for first in the Texas State University High School invitational.

When he committed to OSU just six days after receiving an offer, some projected Owens as a running back, like he did a little bit of in high school. Owens hasn’t played running back in a game, but when the transfer portal thinned the roster before the Guaranteed Rate Bowl last year, Dunn even had Owens taking reps there, just in case anything happened to Ollie Gordon or Jaden Nixon.

In three years of college, Owens has done it all. And that’s fine with him.

“I try to help you know the team be as best as we can be, you know, play wherever they asked me to play.”

 

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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