Going over the middle of the field for a catch can be extremely risky, but Oklahoma State wide receiver Dillon Stoner has done pretty well for himself in that department.
Over the course of his college career, Stoner had 191 receptions for 2,378 yards and 17 touchdowns. He finished his final game as a member of the Cowboys with five catches for 43 yards and a score.
Though he did show an ability to beat secondaries over the top from time to time, Stoner’s best attribute is finding the hole in zone coverage. If there’s a soft spot in the defense, he’ll most likely exploit it.
Stoner might not be generating as much buzz as other wide receivers, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. All he knows is that he’ll make the most of his opportunity when it comes.
We sat down with Dillon Stoner to discuss his Oklahoma State career, which wide receivers he models his game after, his mentality when going over the middle, and much more.
The Spun: You capped off your Oklahoma State career with a touchdown in a win over Miami. What was that experience like for you?
Dillon Stoner: As far as the overall season, it was disappointing. We had a really talented team, so I felt like we could’ve done more. It came down to not executing when we needed to. We did make a bowl game though against a great Miami team and we did finish the season the right way.
The Spun: What’s your mentality when you’re making a catch over the middle of the field?
DT: The saying goes ‘It doesn’t hurt as much if you hold onto it.’ I’m always trying to just watch the ball all the way in. It’s inevitable that you’re going to get hit when going across the middle. I focus on coming up with the ball so I can move the sticks. That’s all.
— OSU Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) December 30, 2020
The Spun: Who are some wide receivers you model your game after?
DT: There’s a bunch. Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and James Washington – the list just goes on and on. That’s what is so awesome about receivers. There are things you can take from others and always build on that.
The Spun: Can you take me back to this past season’s Baylor game. What led to that dominant performance?
DT: It was weird, honestly. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to play due to COVID-19. I knew going into the game that I loved the plan and that there’d be opportunities for me. When my number was called, I just tried to make the most out of the opportunity and catch the ball when it came my way.
Oklahoma St WR Dillon Stoner vs Baylor
🚀 8 catches
🚀 247 yards (94 YAC)
🚀 3 TDs pic.twitter.com/XBxZNHaLTl
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 13, 2020
The Spun: What are your expectations for your former quarterback Spencer Sanders next season?
DT: He’s going to continue to grow and take steps in the right direction. He’s a freak athlete; he can do a lot. I think the game will continue to slow down from him, which will allow him to take his game to the next level. He’s going to be a big-time playmaker, and I’m excited to watch it.
The Spun: Is Mike Gundy the coach to get Oklahoma State to the promised land?
DT: I think so. If you look at his record, he’s been very successful at Oklahoma State from the second he took over there. He’s about to get inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame – rightfully so. He’s a great coach and I think Oklahoma State is always going to be in contention. This upcoming team is going to be good, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays for Coach Gundy and the Cowboys.
The Spun: What is your go-to route?
DT: I really like a simple crossing route from the slot. There’s a lot of different ways to run that based off looks. I also love the classic fade from the outside.
The Spun: How has this draft process been?
DT: It’s been awesome. I’ve been training in Colorado since the beginning of January. The pro day is coming up on April 1, but I don’t think it’s all going to hit me until I get back to Stillwater. I’m just taking it one step at a time. I’ve had a great process and great trainers around me.
Regardless of sure-handedness and the trust factor Dillon Stoner has, there is one main reason he should get a chance in the NFL…
2020 Snaps at slot: 239
2020 Snaps at wide: 262
No matter where he is on the field, he grinds and gets the job done. pic.twitter.com/eR66H5AUPC
— Marshall Levenson (@MarshallLevy14) December 31, 2020
The Spun: What are you hoping to show at your pro day?
DT: I put a lot of work in and I’m taking this training time extremely serious, so I’m hoping that shows in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, shuttle and vertical.
The Spun: Do you feel like you’re being a bit overlooked right now?
DT: I try not to pay too much attention to the outside noise. All I want and ask for is an opportunity, and whatever team gives me that opportunity is getting a guy who gives 110 percent on every play and does whatever it takes to win football games.
The Spun: Is there an NFL quarterback you’d love to catch a touchdown pass from?
DT: It’d be hard not to say the GOAT, Tom Brady. What he’s done in his career and coming off yet another Super Bowl, it’s tough not to say him. Like you said though, I’d be happy to play with any quarterback.
The Spun: Last question. What’s your celebration going to be for your first NFL touchdown?
DT: Oh, man. I have no idea. I’ve always kept it classic with a kiss up to the lord. I might be a little too excited when it happens, though, so I might go with a ‘Gronk Spike.’
— Dillon Stoner (@dillon_stoner) January 2, 2021
We’ve seen plenty of receivers carve out a role in the NFL by being technicians in the slot. It’s possible Dillon Stoner ends up excelling in that type of role.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.