Oklahoma State football: The case for Jaylen Warren as nation’s best RB

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse

It’s time to consider Oklahoma State football’s Jaylen Warren as the nation’s best running back.

The redshirt senior from Salt Lake City has powered a relatively sluggish Oklahoma State offense to three consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time in program history. The most recent win came at Texas behind Warren’s 193 rushing yards and vaulted the Cowboys to the No. 8 ranking in the latest AP poll. Led by Warren, OSU (6-0, 3-0) is off to its best start since the 2015 season.

In his past four games, Warren has rushed for 659 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He’s averaged 164.5 yards per game during that stretch, composed of wins against Boise State, Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas. No other player in the nation can match Warren’s rushing total from the past four games.

Oklahoma State football’s Jaylen Warren has rushed for 659 yards in the past four games, a total unmatched by any other player in the country.

For the season overall, Warren has rushed for 705 yards through his first six games as a Cowboy. He began the season rushing for only 46 combined yards behind starter L.D. Brown, who was injured early in OSU’s third game of the season at Boise State. Despite this slow start, Warren averages 117.5 yards per game for the season — a mark bettered by only seven other players in the country.

While many running backs may have padded their stats against FCS or lower level opponents earlier in the season, Warren has almost done the opposite — he’s improved his play as his team plays tougher competition.

Against then-No. 25 Texas last weekend, the Utah State transfer led the Cowboys to a second-half rally that included 19 unanswered points. Warren rushed for 154 yards in the second half alone, a total unmatched by any other running back’s average for an entire game.

Warren is strong enough to burst between the tackles, and he has enough speed to get past linebackers and run through a defensive secondary. Though OSU fans may grimace when quarterback Spencer Sanders hands the ball off on a 3rd-and-10, Warren has actually proven capable of picking up this yardage on a consistent basis.

Warren’s emergence has come at a crucial time for the Cowboys offense, which has struggled with several injuries to starting wide receivers. Sanders has had some accuracy issues, too, and has failed to top 182 passing yards in four of the Cowboys’ six wins.

Warren has picked up the slack, bursting onto the scene by rushing for 218 yards against Boise State (including a 75-yard touchdown that kept the Pokes alive in the first half). This marks a single-game best rushing total by any Big 12 player so far in 2021.

Use your ← → (arrows) to browse