The grass was especially green in Oregon this summer for Mason Rudolph.
But the lush landscape wasn’t the only reason why the senior Oklahoma State quarterback enjoyed his visit to “The Opening” so much late last month.
Football heaven pic.twitter.com/56xFDbTPM3
— Mason Rudolph (@Rudolph2Mason) June 30, 2017
Rudolph was among a group of top national quarterbacks who served as camp counselors at the Elite 11 Camp at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
Football vacation was “just an awesome deal”
Organizers like to bill the camp as a “football nirvana.” After experiencing it, Rudolph is still raving about it.
“It was just an awesome deal,” he said. “I’ve always heard the stories about the unbelievable campus they have out there and it definitely lived up to all of the expectations I had.”
If almost seemed that Rudolph needed to pinch himself at times. At one point he found himself throwing to Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice in one drill. Later, he was warming up along the sidelines with Arizona Cardinals All-Pro receiver Larry Fitzgerald and hearing tips from ex-NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer.
“Throwing to the greatest wide receiver of all time is a pretty cool experience,” Rudoph said. “And then there was all of the gear we got. Add all of the different gear we got and all of the football minds we were around to learn from.
“It was a great kind of football vacation. They kept calling it football heaven, and that’s what it was like to me.”
Hanging with the Mannings
Earlier, Rudolph worked again at the Manning Academy with other top college quarterbacks. While there, he was able to revel in the atmosphere of showcasing his skills and learning from the first family of signal callers.
“The Manning camp was great,” Rudolph said. “It was really enjoyable hanging out with arguably the best minds in football in the history of the game. It’s an unbelievable opportunity to soak up what you can whether it’s questions or technique or something else to take away.”
But the biggest takeaway that Rudolph will take away from his work with the Mannings was how personable the entire family was.
“One of the coolest things is hanging out with Peyton and Eli and Cooper and (their father) Archie,” he said. “Just trying to be a sponge and absorb the information they are giving.”
Back to work camping with the Cowboys
His June work was fun, but Rudolph already is eagerly anticipating the start of Oklahoma State’s training camp later this month.
It’s understandable why. The Cowboys are a fashionable choice to contend for the Big 12 championship.
Rudolph and his explosive offensive arsenal will be a major reason. Key parts will include Biletnikoff challenger James Washington, heralded LSU transfer Tyron Johnson, Marcell Ateman, Austin Hays and Cole McKnight.
“Our preparation as a team and the work we’ve put on this off-season has given us confidence and momentum we took rolling from last season. We’re really excited. And by taking it with a day-by-day approach is how we’ll eventually find our success.”