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Q&A: Oklahoma State QB Taylor Cornelius

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QB Mason Rudolph, on Oklahoma State pushing him for Heisman: (0:20)

QB Mason Rudolph, on Oklahoma State pushing him for Heisman: Video by Jake Trotter (0:20)

Mike Gundy said after Oklahoma State's spring game he wouldn't be naming a No. 2 quarterback behind starter Mason Rudolph until mid-August. But if the Cowboys coach had to name one at the moment, he'd go with walk-on Taylor Cornelius.

For the second year in a row, the Amarillo, Texas, native shined in the spring game, completing 5 of 9 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

"Certainly, Taylor played better than anybody else," said Gundy, referring to the competitors for second on the QB depth chart.

After the spring game, Cornelius -- who will be a redshirt junior this fall -- chatted with ESPN.com about the backup-quarterback derby, what's he picked up from Rudolph and Oklahoma State's loaded receiving corps:

What has allowed you to stand out despite being a walk-on?

Cornelius: I think at first you've got to get accustomed to the system. You can't come in thinking you're somebody even if you know inside you can do it. I always felt like I could play. That's why I decided to come here. It's paid off, I guess.

At what point did you think, "I'm as good as these other guys"?

Cornelius: Deep down, you always think that. You've always got to have that edge, that chip on your shoulder you play with. You always want to be better than that next person; you have to think you are. That's what makes you compete.

What is going to be the key to winning this No. 2 job?

Cornelius: Limit mistakes. Just an understanding and a feel for the guys and competing every day and going out there and having fun.

Do you think winning the No. 2 job could give you a leg up in the competition to replace Mason as the starter in 2018?

Cornelius: I think it would help, but at the end of the day, whoever performs better is going to play.

What have you learned from Mason?

Cornelius: He's stepped up big-time this year. He's taken on a huge leadership role this year, full steam ahead. He's taken guys under his wings, Keondre [Wudtee], Jelani [Woods], John [Kolar], even myself. He's trying to make us better and help us understand the offense so we can be better as a team.

So leadership is the big thing you've taken from him?

Cornelius: Definitely, trying to get guys going.

The Pistols Firing Oklahoma State blog calls you the "Oil Baron." What do you think of that nickname?

Cornelius: I'm aware of it, but honestly, I don't know where it comes from, because we don't have any oil in Amarillo. That's all right, I'll stick with it.

How good is this receiving corps?

Cornelius: It's tremendous. You've got a guy like Marcell Ateman getting a medical redshirt to come back this year. Chris Lacy, James [Washington], Jalen [McCleskey], I mean, the depth is unreal compared to anywhere else. I feel like we've got No. 1 guys at every position.

Last question: Your favorite local spot to eat in Stillwater?

Cornelius: Either Louie's or the Garage.