The Oklahoma Sooners have one of the greatest traditions in College Football history, and today we will look at their most outstanding player in school history.
The Boz won the first two Butkus Awards as the nation’s top college linebacker; he remains the only player ever to have won the accolade more than once. In addition, college Football News ranked him No. 30 on its list of the “100 Greatest College Players of All-Time.” In October 1999, Bosworth was named to the Sports Illustrated NCAA Football All-Century Team as one of only nine linebackers on the squad.
Washington was a two-time First-team All-American and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1974 and fifth in 1975. He finished his career at Oklahoma with 4,071 career rushing yards. Washington was one of the most electrifying running backs in College Football history.
In 1984, Casillas was moved to nose guard and became a starter, receiving consensus All-American and first-team All-Conference honors.
In 1985, he became only the second Sooner ever to win the Lombardi Award, given to the nation’s top lineman. In addition, he was named the UPI Lineman of the Year, the Big Eight Conference defensive player of the year, a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-Conference. He ended his college career with 18 sacks and 213 career tackles and graduated with Academic All-American honors in 1985 and a degree in public relations.
In 1955, he was named a starter at running back, tallying 114 carries for 715 yards (led the team), 16 rushing touchdowns (led the team), 7 receptions for 110 yards (second on the team), and one receiving touchdown (tied for the team lead). He also was a passer on the option play. He became the first player in school history to score a touchdown in every game of a season.
In 1956, he led the team with 119 carries for 853 yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 12 receptions for 282 yards, and 4 receiving touchdowns. At the end of the season, he received the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding college football player and finished third in the 1956 Heisman voting. McDonald never lost a College Football game as he was a huge part of the Sooners 47 game winning streak.
Peterson set the freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards during the 2004 season. Named a unanimous All-American that year, he became the first freshman to finish as a runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Peterson finished his college football career as the Sooners’ third all-time leading rusher. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest running backs in football history.
Vessels led the Oklahoma Sooners to the national championship in 1950, scoring 15 touchdowns. In 1952, he won the Heisman Trophy. Playing under the legendary Bud Wilkinson, he became the first of seven Sooners, followed by Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003), Sam Bradford (2008), Baker Mayfield (2017), and Kyler Murray (2018) to win the award. During the 1952 season, he rushed for 1,072 yards, including seven 100 yard performances and 17 touchdowns.
Williams was a starter on the undefeated 2000 Oklahoma Sooners team that won the BCS National Championship, setting a school record for tackles for a loss by a defensive back with 12.
In 2001, his junior season at Oklahoma, he won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top overall defensive player. Also, he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back while leading the team to a 10-2 record and a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team Big 12 selection and recognized as a unanimous first-team All-American. Williams decided to forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
Mayfield was a three-time Heisman finalist, a three-time all-American, and the greatest Quarterback in Sooner history.
Simms was one of the greatest running backs ever to play the game. Injuries shortened his NFL career, but his career at Oklahoma was absolutely amazing. In 1978 and 1979, Billy led the Big 8 in rushing while leading the nation to score and set an all-time NCAA mark at seven yards per carrying. He followed up winning the Heisman in 1978 by finishing second in 1979, with many thinking he deserved the award a second time.
Selmon is considered one of the greatest defensive players to ever step on the field. He won the Lombardi and Outland trophies while being the only defensive player to earn Heisman votes in 1975. In addition, Selmon was the first Sooner elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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