Ollie Gordon’s return to OSU is quite the bonanza for Cowboy football on a variety of fronts.
Oklahoma State got an early Christmas gift.
On Christmas Eve, Ollie Gordon announced that he is returning to Oklahoma State. The running back’s future has been a hot topic of conversation since he finished the season as the nation’s leading rusher.
Berry Tramel and I discuss the importance of his return.
What does it mean for the Cowboys?
Berry: Well, it gives the Cowboys a fabulous foundation going into the newlook Big 12. It gives OSU hope that it can keep its homegrown stars (how’s that for a pro term on the college level?) in this crazy new world order. And it invigorates a fan base that has found its newest folk hero.
Jenni: Lots to unpack there, BT. I’ll start with the second thing you said, though. A year after losing a ton of starters and regulars to the transfer portal, OSU is keeping its best starter (plus a bunch of offensive linemen). That speaks to improved name, image and likeness for the top-level Cowboys. I’m not suggesting OSU might not have been outbid by other schools for Gordon’s services, but it wasn’t outbid by so much that Gordon felt like he just had to go somewhere else because the money was so much better. And you know that he got those kind of high-dollar offers.
Berry: I’m sure he did, though I don’t know what the going rate is for college tailbacks. Gordon’s value in Stillwater might be as high as anywhere, since the Cowboys transitioned away from a quarterback-centric offense. And the numbers we’re hearing on Gordon was that he’s getting a good chunk of change. A couple of weeks ago, I was hearing north of half a million.
Jenni: He deserves whatever he can get, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a fantastic player, and his personality has made him the face of the franchise in Stillwater. I assume had he gone elsewhere, that personality would’ve traveled and Gordon would’ve become a favorite there. But now, he has a chance to reach legend status in Stillwater. A superstar who stayed. And why wouldn’t he be among the Heisman favorites heading into next year?
Berry: That’s certainly part of the OSU narrative. His video announcing his return was fabulous, co-starring president Kayse Shrum. Gordon’s got his feet on Shrum’s desk, watching game video with Pistol Pete, and when Shrum questions him, he answers with a classic: “I’m home … welcome to Olliewood.” Then Shrum gets instruction from Gordon on the Heisman pose, in front of the Barry Sanders statue. Kudos all around to the OSU marketing folks for such a cool video. But tsk tsk on releasing the video in mid-afternoon Christmas Eve. That’s when you dump bad news, not good news.
Jenni: Agreed. The timing isn’t great in the sports world at large, but among Cowboys, there was never going to be a bad time. Getting Gordon back gives OSU so much momentum heading into the offseason. Now, it’d be hard to pick against the Cowboys to win the new-look Big 12. Arizona has a strong case. Kansas State is always tough. Utah will be interesting. But no other Big 12 team in 2024 will have a player as talented as Gordon.