Prolific passing duo returns for OSU

Updated: August 5, 2003, 5:10 PM ET

STILLWATER, Okla. -- In the days leading up to the deadline for remaining in the NFL draft, Rashaun Woods could barely get around the Oklahoma State campus without bumping into helpful teammates.

Woods, who led the nation in receptions and yards per game last year, didn't need much nudging to stay in school. He got it anyway.

"There wasn't much recruiting going on -- he's a grown man," said OSU quarterback Josh Fields, a grin forming on his lips. "But all the guys made our opinions known to him."

In part because of entreaties such as those, Oklahoma State will return the Big 12 Conference's most productive passing duo in Woods and Fields. Cowboys fans couldn't be happier and expectations haven't been this high in Stillwater since Barry Sanders was wearing hunting cap orange.

The players and coaches walked around Tuesday's media day with a swagger unusual for a program coming off just its second winning season in 14 years.

"Guys on this team are confident," Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said. "There's a lot more expectations around here."

Oklahoma State closed out 2002 with six wins in its last seven games, including upsets of Nebraska and Oklahoma. During that stretch, it was hard to find a more potent offense in the conference as Fields and Woods clicked like no other pair in school history.

Fields ended up shattering school season records for completions (226), attempts (408), yards (3,145) and touchdowns (31). Woods was even better, setting a Big 12 record for receptions in a season with 107. He also finished with league-leading totals of 1,695 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.

Of course, after a season like that, there was an inevitable buzz about Woods making the jump to the NFL.

After Woods caught nine passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in a 33-23 win over Southern Mississippi in the Houston Bowl, more than 30,000 Oklahoma State fans pleaded for "one more year, one more year."

In the months that followed, teammates told him pretty much the same thing.

"I'm sure he got tired of it," Fields said, "us expressing how we felt about him."

Miles tried a different approach, preferring not to pressure Woods and let his star receiver come to him with questions.

"He told me about three times that he felt like he was going to stay," Miles said. "I think he wanted to have another year of college fun."

It also helped that Woods was going to get a chance to play with his younger brothers, D'Juan, a redshirt freshman receiver, and Donovan, an incoming freshman quarterback.

There was another quarterback who played a role in Woods' decision, too.

"I think Josh is the best quarterback in the league," Woods said. "If we didn't have any quarterbacks coming back, then yeah, it would have been tough to stay."

With that, Oklahoma State had secured its most important piece for another run at the Big 12 championship. The Cowboys were just one league victory away from winning the title last year.

And Woods, who draws the lion's share of attention from both opponents and media, figures that if the Cowboys make good on their potential, it won't be long before Fields starts garnering similar notice.

"I don't think people give Josh enough credit," Woods said. "That's maybe because of the success I've had. But he's as important to what we do as I am."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index