Oklahoma State football: Why Dillon Stoner was 'steady as a rock' in his Cowboy career
STILLWATER — After Dillon Stoner caught his final pass and scored his final touchdown as an Oklahoma State Cowboy last Tuesday night, he danced.
Not typically the guy for big celebrations, Stoner earned this one.
After five selfless seasons as a Cowboy receiver, he deserved a little spotlight in his last college football game.
After his quick dance, he tossed the ball to the referee and celebrated with his team, which was on its way to a 37-34 win over Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Playing alongside James Washington early in his career, then Tylan Wallace over the last three seasons, Stoner didn’t have the opportunity to put up numbers in bulk the way those two guys did.
But Stoner was rock-steady over his 52-game career that included four games as a true freshman before he got hurt and took a redshirt season.
His 191 career receptions rank sixth in OSU history — sandwiched between Wallace with 205 and Josh Stewart with 180. With 2,378 yards, he’s ninth all-time, and his 17 touchdowns ties for 10th.
And his 247-yard day against Baylor on Dec. 12 was the third-best game ever by a Cowboy receiver.
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Stoner could’ve come back for a sixth year, but the 6-foot, 200-pound Jenks native believed the time was right to make a run at a pro career.
“I’ve had a great five years here,” Stoner said. “It’s just time. I’m about to turn 23 and I want to give the next level a shot. I feel like I have a good opportunity to do so. I’ve had a fantastic career here. Wouldn’t change it for the world. But it’s just time to move on to the next thing.”
Stoner left his mark on the Cowboy program with his work ethic and reliability.
“His leadership has been fantastic,” offensive coordinator and receivers coach Kasey Dunn said. “He’s been as steady as a rock. He’s a worker. He’s really athletic.
“He’s been fantastic with us all the way through. He has so much respect from the rest of the team.”
That respect is founded on Stoner’s reputation as one of the hardest workers on the team.
“I think it’s rare when you come across guys like Stoner,” Wallace said. “He’s one of the hardest working guys on the team, one of the most humble guys on the team. He goes out there and gives everything he’s got, whether he’s getting the ball or not.
“It shows the kind of person he is, the kind of dedication he has for the game and the love he has for his teammates.”
Several players across the country find themselves in Stoner’s position. A fifth-year senior with a potential pro career ahead of him, but also the option to return to school for a sixth year because of the NCAA rule created to counteract the pandemic-afflicted season.
But Stoner had made up his mind early that this would be his last ride.
“Six years is a long time,” Stoner said with a smile. “But I’m at peace with the decision, and looking forward to the opportunity to play more football.”
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.