Athlon ranks the 10 greatest Oklahoma State players since 1967.
Robinson was the school’s all-time leader in total offense — before his senior season. So his 12,033 yards are leaps and bounds ahead of current head coach Mike Gundy’s 7,749 yards. His 10,175 passing yards are nearly a full season ahead of Gundy’s 7,997, the former record. His 66 passing touchdowns are a school record. He took over as the starter as a sophomore, and all he did was set a school record for total offense with 3,671 yards (later broken). He led his team to three straight bowl appearances, and he finished with 1,858 yards rushing and 22 rushing TDs to go with his prolific passing numbers. He was 24-13 as the starter in Stillwater.
After being the first pick by the New York Yankees in the 2002 MLB Draft, Weeden returned to college to lead Oklahoma State to two of the program’s most storied seasons in history (11-2, 12-1). After a record-setting junior season in 2010, Weeden returned to Stillwater and shattered all of his own single-season school records. He owns the single-season school record for passing yards (4,727), passing touchdowns (37), total offense (4,625), completions (408), attempts (564) and completion percent (72.3%). Weeden also broke his own single-game passing record with Oklahoma State’s only 500-yard effort (502 yards against Kansas State). He finished his career with a 23-3 record as the starter and brought the first Big 12 championship to Pokes fans — it was the school’s first conference title since the 1976 Big Eight crown.
Best known for his 520 tackles and 80.0 sacks for the Steel Curtain Super Bowl defense of the mid-'90s, Gildon is also the career sack master of Stillwater, Okla. His 35.5 career QB sacks are a school record — as were his 16.0 sacks in 1991. He finished his career with 266 career total tackles, landing him in the top 20 of all-time as well. Gildon was a third-round selection by the Steelers in the 1994 NFL Draft. The three-time Pro Bowler played 11 seasons in the league.
Miller left Stillwater as the program's all-time leading rusher with 4,581 yards on 848 carries. The two-time All-American has the third-best season in Pokes history with a 1,680-yard performance in 1977. Miller posted back-to-back 1,500-yard seasons, rushing for 1,541 yards and 21 TDs in 1976 — the 21 scores were, at the time, a school record. His 43 rushing scores are good for second all-time in school history. In 1977, Miller finished second only to the great Earl Campbell in the Heisman Trophy voting. Miller was the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
Blackmon burst onto the scene as a sophomore when he set an Oklahoma State record with 1,782 yards receiving (an NCAA record for a sophomore), 20 touchdowns and 111 receptions. He also set an NCAA record with 12 straight games of at least 100 yards and a touchdown. He became the Pokes first-ever Biletnikoff Award winner that year — all while missing a game. He returned to Stillwater in 2011 and broke his own school record for receptions (121) and posted 1,522 yards and 18 more touchdowns as a senior. He was named to his second straight consensus first-team All-American and joined Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree as the only two-time Biltenikoff Award winners. He ended his career with as the MVP of the Fiesta Bowl — the only BCS bowl win in school history. As part of a team that won 23 games in two years and the program’s first conference championship since 1976, Blackmon is arguably the most productive receiver in program history.
It is hard to look at an Oklahoma State record book without seeing the name Woods pop up a few hundred times. His 107-catch, 1,695-yard, 17-TD season in 2002 set all three major single-season receiving records (until Justin Blackmon in 2010) for the program. His career numbers of 293 receptions, 4,414 yards and 42 receiving TDs not only set Oklahoma State records but also Big 12 conference benchmarks. His seven receiving TDs against SMU in 2003 are still an NCAA record. Prior to Woods' career in Stillwater, only one Cowboy had ever topped the 200-yard mark receiving even once (Curtis Mayfield, 208). Woods broke that record three separate times with 223-, 226- and 230-yard performances. The talented receiver topped the century mark 20 times in his illustrious Pokes career. Woods was the 31st overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
It took less than a month for the big freshman hog molly to get into the starting lineup. Okung started the final eight games of his first season and was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman team. Upon being moved to the most important position – Zac Robinson’s left tackle – Okung started all 13 games as a sophomore. The line allowed a league-best five sacks in 2007. The big fella finished his junior season with a 34-straight start streak intact after 71 knockdown blocks and all-conference honors. Okung dominated some of the NCAA’s best, holding Von Miller, Sergio Kindle and Greg Middleton without a sack. He was an Outland Trophy finalists (losing to only Ndamukong Suh) and was a consensus All-American. He was also given Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year honors before being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Okung started 47 straight games as an Oklahoma State Cowboy.
O’Neal simply refused to lose, and his career at Oklahoma State was highlighted by his work ethic and dedication. The three-time all-conference performer set the OSU sack record in 1984 with 14.0 QB sacks. The conference Defensive Player of the Year came one tackle for a loss shy of setting that record as well (17.0 TFL in 1984). In fact, three of the top 11 TFL seasons in school history were posted by O’Neal — 15.0 in 1985 and 15.0 in 1983. He ranks fifth all-time in tackles with 353 total stops, topping the 100-tackle mark in each of his three starting campaigns. He is second all-time to Jason Gildon with 32.0 career sacks — a number that was a school record when he left for the NFL in 1986. The Chargers drafted the Lombardi Award runner-up in the first round, and he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after 82 tackles and 12.5 sacks. O’Neal was a six-time Pro Bowler and earned Comeback Player of the Year honors after a devastating knee injury.
A part of the most talented backfield in NCAA history, Thomas is the Cowboys’ all-time leading rusher with 4,595 yards on 898 carries. He topped the 100-yard mark 21 times and tied a school record with 43 career rushing touchdowns (which was broken one year later). The two-time All-American finished seventh in the Heisman voting in 1987 after 1,613 yards and 18 TDs, leading the Pokes to a Sun Bowl win over West Virginia. His No. 34 is one of three Okie State numbers to be retired. Thomas was drafted in the second round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Bills — a team he helped lead to an unmatched four straight Super Bowls. He was inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame in 2008.
Arguably the greatest running back to ever carry a football. Sanders' 1988 Heisman Trophy campaign very simply might be the greatest season in the history of college football by any player at any position. Sanders waited patiently behind Thurman Thomas before exploding as a junior — leading the nation in kick return yards in 1987. In his first, and only, year as the starter he rushed for an NCAA-record 2,628 yards and 37 rushing TDs. His 7.6 yards per carry and 238.9 yards per game easily led the nation. His 39 total TDs, 234 points, 3,248 all-purpose yards and five consecutive 200-yard efforts are all also NCAA records. What is more astounding is the fact that his 222 yards and five TDs in three quarters of Holiday Bowl action did not even count towards those totals. Sanders earned the Doak Walker Award in ’88 as well. Sanders is fourth all-time in school history in rushing, only because he left early for the NFL following his Heisman season. His 48 career rushing TDs are a school record. All Sanders did after being selected with the third overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft by Detroit is rush for 15,269 yards and go to the Pro Bowl in all ten NFL seasons. Had Sanders played a few more years in the NFL, he likely would have become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher.
Hours after learning that he had won the Heisman Trophy, Barry Sanders rushed for 332 yards and four TDs in a 45-42 win over Texas Tech in the Coca-Cola Bowl in Tokyo. The performance lifted Sanders’ season total to 2,628 yards, an NCAA record.
Third-ranked Missouri held a 17-14 lead late in the third quarter, but Oklahoma State rallied and dumped the Tigers, 28-23, to beat its highest-ranked rival on the road. Zac Robinson threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, and Kendall Hunter ran for 154 and a score for a win that vaulted OSU into the top 10.
Rashaun Woods caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Josh Fields in the fourth quarter to lead the 3-7 Cowboys to a 16-13 win over fourth-ranked Oklahoma in Norman. Oklahoma State’s defense limited the Sooners to just 220 total yards, and kicker Luke Phillips drilled a pair of 52-yard field goals.
HEAD COACH: Bob Stoops, 149-37 (14 years) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Josh Heupel, Jay Norvell |
DEF. COORDINATOR: Mike Stoops
Rarely under Bob Stoops has Oklahoma been so uncertain at quarterback, or so unclear on the direction of the offense. Yet also under Stoops, Oklahoma always seems to produce positive answers.
Gone is Landry Jones, whose 39 career wins were the most in the rich history of the program. His top two receivers are gone, too.
And a buzz about a move to more of a read-option offense hovered around the team in the offseason, with the combatants in an ongoing quarterback competition — Blake Bell, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson — all logical fits for such an attack.
Now, that’s not to say the Sooners will abandon the air-it-out attack that has produced double-digit win totals in 11 of Stoops’ 14 seasons.
“We will never give up anything as far as our quarterbacks having the ability to pass,” says co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. “That’s our primary focus first. We have great skill guys, and we want to make sure we’re able to distribute the ball to those guys. But certainly the guys we have on campus are a little bit different than Landry.”
Bell has experience, having played key moments in 20 games. Yet most have come in the “Belldozer” package, designed to utilize him in the short-yardage run game. It’s a role Bell has flourished in, scoring 24 touchdowns on 104 rushes over two seasons. But the former 5-star prospect has more rushing TDs than pass attempts (20) and must prove he’s capable of succeeding as a thrower as well as a runner.
While Bell is the only quarterback with game experience, the competition was on in the spring, with Thompson and Knight very much in the mix.
A line that returns four starters and is anchored by first-team All-Big 12 center Gabe Ikard should be a strength in aiding OU’s transition.
And there are proven skill players in place, with running back Damien Williams, receiver Jalen Saunders and hybrid fullback/tight end Trey Millard all capable of all-conference seasons.
A major makeover is taking place on the defensive side of the ball. Just four starters return overall, leaving major questions along the front seven. Even in the secondary, where experience exists, position shuffles and shaky previous performances linger among several of the starters.
Aaron Colvin is the headliner, a shutdown corner who produced four interceptions and a team-high 11 passes defended a year ago, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors. Beyond Colvin in the secondary, the Sooners are banking on a cast that includes everything from transfers to a player coming off suspension to true freshmen.
Defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue, linebacker Corey Nelson and safety Gabe Lynn are the other returning starters. Everywhere else, there’s a need for players to develop — and do so quickly.
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Aaron Colvin, CB – Lockdown corners are a lifeline in the Big 12; in Colvin, the Sooners have one of the nation’s best.
Damien Williams, RB – A breakaway threat, Williams should thrive in his second season in the system. Had four 100-yard games in 2012.
Gabe Ikard, C – The versatile Ikard is smart and savvy, the brain stem of the offensive line at center.
Jalen Saunders, WR – His quickness and sure hands in the slot will provide comfort for the next Sooner quarterback. Closed regular season with three 100-yard games.
Trey Millard, FB – Whether he’s at fullback or tight end, Millard is a physical presence.
Michael Hunnicutt gives the Sooners a reliable weapon in the kicking game. He made 17-of-21 field goals a year ago. Coaches are hoping junior college transfer Jed Barnett fills the void at punter. The return game is solid.
For a change, the Sooners aren’t considered Big 12 favorites. All the question marks and a rugged schedule that includes trips to Notre Dame and Kansas State as well as rival Oklahoma State create a major challenge for a team in transition.
Oklahoma remains a contender, surely capable of claiming another conference crown — there’s plenty of talent on the roster — yet the Sooners seemingly need so much to go right on both sides of the ball to hang another championship banner.
“It doesn’t change anything whatsoever,” Stoops says. “We’ve never put much stock or cared where we were or weren’t picked.”
Brown came to Norman as a defensive tackle but after switching to the O-Line as a sophomore, he quickly emerged as — arguably — the best blocker in Sooner history. The two-time All-American paved the way for a record-breaking offense in 2004, winning the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman. He did not allow a sack or a QB hurry during that season and led the team with 130 knockdown blocks. He won multiple Big 12 Championships and helped push the Sooners to the BCS National Championship game. Brown was the 13th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.
There is little doubt that Bradford is the best quarterback to ever suit up for the Sooners. He owns all three yardage records: single game (468), single-season (4,720) and career (8,403). He owns the single-season (50) and career passing touchdown records (88). He posted the two most effecient seasons in OU passing history in both completion percentage (69.5 percent in 2007, 67.9 percent in 2008) and quarterback rating (180.84 in 2008, 176.53 in 2007). He became only the second underclassman (albeit a redshirt) to even win the Heisman Trophy and led his team to the national championship game against Florida. He also set a NCAA freshman record for touchdown passes with 36. Oh yeah, and he did all this in only two seasons — both of which ended in a Big 12 Championship. Bradford threw only 69 passes his junior season after sustaining an injury that ended his college career. He declared for the NFL Draft and was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in 2010.
One of the most dominant linemen in OU history helped lead the Sooners back to the promised land when he guided the Sooners win the 1985 National Championship. In 1984, Casillas was a first-team All-American. In 1985, he became the only the second Sooner to win the Lombardi Award given to the nation's best lineman. He also earned his second All-America honor as well as the UPI National Lineman of the Year Award and Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year. Casillas finsihed his career with 213 tackles and 18 sacks and became only the second Hispanic member of the NCAA Football Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2004.
Owens rumbled his way into the Sooner history books as one of the most prolific rushers in school history. He became the second Sooner to win the Heisman Trophy award in 1969 when he rushed for 1,523 yards and 23 touchdowns (still a school record). The previous season, Owens had set the single-season OU rushing mark with 1,649 yards (since broken). His 958 carries are still a school record, and he owns the top seven spots on the single-game carries list, including a record 55 against Oklahoma State in 1969. Owens also set the career rushing touchdown record with 57. Those 57 TDs were a total touchdowns record until 2010 when DeMarco Murray broke it. He topped the 100-yard mark 23 times in his career, won two conference championships and is a member of the NCAA Football Hall of Fame. He was the 19th overall pick in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
One the hardest hitting safeties to ever play the game at any school, Williams helped lead OU back to prominence as a key member of the 2000 National Championship team. As only a sophomore, he started every game and set a Sooner record for tackles for a loss by a defensive back (12). As a junior, "Superman" was immortalized by his flying game-changing tackle of Chris Simms in the Red River Shootout. Williams won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and the Nagurski Trophy as the country's top overall defensive player. His 22 pass deflections in 2001 are a Sooner record and his 44 career deflections rank second all-time. Williams was the eighth overall pick 2002 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Arguably the most complete tight end in NCAA history, Jackson played primarily in a wishbone offense yet still averaged over 23 yards per catch for his career and was named an All-American in each of his final two seasons. He helped lead the Sooners to the 1985 National Championship. Oklahoma was 42-5-1 during Jackson's time in Norman, and he finished with 62 catches for 1,407 yards. Jackson was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and was later named the OU Offensive Player of the Century. He was the 13th overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.
The "Boz" has to be the best linebacker to ever suit up for Oklahoma — despite all of the off-the-field drama. Bosworth, the only two-time winner of the Butkus Award, was at his best in big games. His 413 career tackles rank seventh all-time in school history in only three years of action. The two-time All-American and three-time all-league selection was linked to anabolic steriods but was also an Academic All-American. Bosworth was selected in the first round of the 1987 Supplemental Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
With 4,118 yards, Sims is the Sooners' all-time leading rusher. He also owns the most coveted trophy in all of sports — the Heisman Trophy (1978). Sims set a conference rushing mark with 1,896 yards and led the nation by averaging over 7.0 yards per carry. That year, Sims almost set the single-season OU rushing touchdowns record, but missed by one score with 22 trips to paydirt. However, he tied fellow OU Heisman winner Steve Owens for that very record the next year when he capped his stellar career with a 23-TD season —giving him 45 rushing scores in two seasons. Sims topped the 100-yard mark 20 times and scored 53 total touchdowns in illustrious career. He played very little — 15 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns — during his freshman season due to injuries, but Sims was still a part of the 1975 National Championship team. He was taken with the No. 1 overall pick of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.
It didn't take long for Peterson to establish himself as a star. He set an NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards and led the nation with 339 carries in 2004. Peterson helped lead the Sooners to the National title game and finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Despite missing four games as a sophomore, A.D. still managed to top the 1,200-yard mark. As a junior, Peterson injured his collarbone in a flukey dive into the end zone after a 53-yard touchdown run. Even though he missed big chunks of time over his final two seasons, Peterson still managed to rush for the third highest total in school history with 4,045 yards. He "fell" to the Minnesota Vikings at the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.
They don't come much better than Selmon. Playing alongside two of his brothers, Loucious and Dewey, for his first two seasons, Selmon blossomed into a star on the defensive line. By 1974, he was the key cog in one of the most dominant Sooner defenses in history and helped OU to two straight National Championships, in '74 and '75. He claimed the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman. He finished his career with over 330 tackles and what would have been a school record 40 sacks (the stat technically did not exist until 1982 and was loosely kept since 1963). The all-time great was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft.
Top-ranked Oklahoma used its “fast-break” offense to score three second-half touchdowns and overcome number-three Maryland, 20-6, in the Orange Bowl to claim the national championship. It was the 30th straight win for the Sooners and the second number-one finish in three seasons.
After spotting top-ranked Nebraska a 14-0 lead, number-two Oklahoma stormed back to earn a 31-14 win, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Huskers and ending NU’s 13-game winning string. QB Josh Heupel threw for 300 yards and a touchdown, and linebacker Rocky Calmus registered 17 tackles.
This one was all about the defense. Oklahoma held Penn State to 103 yards rushing and picked off four Nittany Lion passes in a 25-10 Orange Bowl win that secured OU’s sixth national crown. Linebacker Brian Bosworth had 13 tackles, and QB Jamelle Holieway and tight end Keith Jackson connected on a 71-yard TD.
The Ohio State crowd was chanting, “Block that kick!” so Sooners kicker Uwe von Schamann decided to play along. After “directing” the cheers, he drilled a 41-yard field goal that gave Oklahoma a dramatic 29-28 win over the Buckeyes.
Earlier in the day, top-ranked Ohio State had lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, so if the Sooners could knock off Michigan, they would be national champs. Thanks to touchdown runs by Billy Brooks – on an end around – and QB Steve Davis, OU earned a 14-6 victory and its first national crown under Barry Switzer.