The Award-Winning Magazine Offering The Most Complete Coverage of Sooner Sports
More Recent Stories

National Spotlight

Marquise Brown Q&A

Road Warrior

The Greatest Rivalry

Road Warrior

Hard Work

Road Warrior

To The Point

King's Corner

The Draft

To The Point

NFL Bound

Looking Back: Billy Vessels

Road Warrior

King's Corner

NFL Spotlight

Boomer Bio

Lincoln Riley Q&A

Keys To Success

End of an Era

Stepping Down

Dominating Force

2017 Recruiting

OU finished off a memorable 2016 season on high note

Road Warrior

Emmanuel Beal Q&A

Fast & Furious

Road Warrior

OU vs. Texas: By The Numbers

King's Corner

Steven Parker Q&A

Orlando Brown Q&A

Speed Burner

King's Corner

Next Step

Welcome Home

QB Questions?

Common Cause

Right on Target

Flying High at No. 1

Headed North

Playoff Bound

Dominique Alexander Q&A

California Connection

Red River Rejuvenation

To The Point

Ty Darlington Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Sooner Flashback: Jakie Sandefer

Next Generation

Hiring Time

Sooners hire new offensive coordinator

Samaje Perine Q&A

Aaron Ripkowski Q&A

Mike Stoops Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

All in the Family

Road Warrior

On Point

King's Corner

Sugar Bowl Review


OU to meet Alabama in Sugar Bowl

Josh Heupel Q&A

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio

The Closer

Sooner Success

Mike Stoops Q&A

Bill Bedenbaugh Q&A

Spring Football Review

Spring Football Review

To The Point

Boomer Bio: Julian Wilson

Boomer Bio: Chuka Ndulue

Boomer Bio: Bronson Irwin

Jalen Saunders Q&A

Patience Rewarded

Boomer Bio: Sterling Shepard

Taylor-made for Oklahoma

Tony Jefferson Q&A

Attention Getter

A Change of Plans

A Change of Plans

Proud Heritage

Hot Commodity

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio; James Winchester

Boomer Bio: Aaron Ripkowski




Strictly Striker

Javon Harris Q&A

Boomer Bio: Austin Haywood

Locked In & Loaded

Ben Habern Q&A

Landry Jones Q&A

The Classics

Top Ten Recruits

Bonus Prospects

Oklahoma Influences

Tight End Tough

Marquis On The Mark

Sooner Stars Set To Return

Jeremy Beal Q&A

Jamell Fleming Q&A

Boomer Bio: Trey Millard

Stacy McGee Q&A

Red River Tradition

Red River Tradition

James Patton Q&A

Boomer Bio: Eric Mensik

Quarterback Race

Quarterback Race

Boomer Bio: Kenny Stills

Boomer Bio: Marshall Musil

Getting His Kicks

Making The Right Moves In Recruiting

Bradford looks sharp in workout

No Doubt About It

Boomer Bio: Willie Martinez

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Boomer Bio: Ronnell Lewis

Norman Bound

Showdown In The Sun

Jay Norvell Q&A

Jay Norvell Q&A

Boomer Bio: Dejuan Miller

Adrian Taylor doing just fine

Joseph Ibiloye Q&A

The Real Deal

Road Warrior

Meet Dusty Dvoracek This Saturday!

Casey Walker Q&A

Best of The Red River Rivalry

Bradford To Start Against Baylor

Facebook & Football

Tackling Machine

Keith Jackson Appearing this Friday in Norman

Josh Heupel Q&A

Boomer Bio: Stephen Good

Top Targets

Brent Venables Q&A

Boomer Bio: Cory Brandon

Tisdale and Griffin

Wayman Tisdale Dies

Sam Bradford Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Blake Griffin earns Naismith Award

Ryan Reynolds Q&A

The Wait Is Over

Outlook for 2009

Outlook for 2009

Staying Put

Bradford, Gresham, Williams Coming Back

Make Room For Sam

Lendy Holmes Q&A

Bradford Wins Heisman

Heisman Material

Boomer Bio: Frank Alexander

Sooners Headed To KC For Big 12 Title Game

Sudden Impact

Sudden Impact

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Gerald McCoy Q&A

Offensive linemen Roundtable

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Boomer Bio: Mossis Madu

Travis Lewis Q&A

Travis Lewis Q&A

Auston English Q&A

Jackie Shipp Q&A

Bob Stoops Q&A

Boomer Bio

They’ve Got It Covered

Bradford Talks About Sooner Experience

Big Dreams

Plenty Of Things To Chew on this Offseason

Marcus Walker Q&A

Looking Ahead

Greater Expectations

Manny Being Manny

The Big Easy

Super Sidekick

English Lesson

Revved Up & Remodeled

Firmly Committed

A Cut Above

The Definition of Rivalry

On The Rise

Irresistible Force


Bradford Named Starting QB

Venables Verbatim

Sooner Spectator & Teaming Up

Final Chapter

Catching Up With Sumlin

Welcome Back Little Joe

Wilson’s Defensive Wisdom

Reggie Smith Q&A

Malcolm Over The Middle

Fantastic Five

Thompson & Alexander To Sign Autographs



OU’s Greatest

Boomer Bio: Brody Eldridge

Boomer Bio: Fred Strong

Dual Threat: Stephen Garcia

Thirty Reasons Why OU will beat Texas

Double Duty

Kody Cooke: A Conversation

Boomer Bio: Lendy Holmes

Welcome Back

Quick Five With Nic Harris

Road Warrior

The Opposition

Defensive Backing

Recruiting: Crimson Bloodline

Wilson Weighs In

Replacing Runnels?

Defensive Outlook

Top Shelf: Austin Box

Rufus Revelations

Reaction to Capel Hiring

A.D. Unscripted

OU will miss Sampson

OU Scrimmage Report

Joey Halzle Q&A

Gray, OU prep for The Dance

Moore is Better

Sooners eye stretch run

Haskell remains a lost treasure

Boomer Bio: Patty Gasso

Sherri Coale Conversation

Taylor Made

Future Considerations

McCoy becomes a Sooner

Michael Neal Q&A

Recruiting: Dominique Franks Q&A

Strong Willed

Football Recruiting Notes

Remembering Billy Ball

Enough Gloom & Doom

Back In Business

Endowed Scholarships Announced

USC or Texas: The Lesser of Two Evils?

Stoops is not leaving OU

Sooners down Ducks in Holiday Bowl

Biding His Time

Kelvin Sampson Q&A

Next Stop Division I

Boomer Bio: Allen Patrick

Chris Messner Q&A

Bob Stoops' take on Bedlam Victory

Terrance Anderson's Journey

OU vs. Tech: The Answers

OU vs. Tech Matchups

Road Warrior

Stoops talks about OU's 36-30 win

OU vs. A&M matchups

OU Coaches’ Roundtable

Recruiting: Derek Burton

Boomer Bio: Juaquin Iglesias

Carl Pendleton Q&A

Sooners topple Huskers in Lincoln

OU-Nebraska Matchups

Recruiting: Ugo Chinasa

Sooners top Baylor

OU vs. Baylor Matchups

Recruiting: Offensive Line

Recruiting: Adron Tennell

Sooners top Jayhawks

OU vs. Kansas Matchups

Boomer Bio

A Pleasant Conversation

Texas tops Oklahoma

Red River Rivarly Matchups

Dusty Dvoracek: In The Trenches

Sooners Roll Past K-State

OU vs. K-State Matchups

Recruiting: Replenishing The Backfield

Boomer Bio

Sooners give one away

Recruiting Demarco Murray

C.J. Ah You Q&A

The Answers: OU vs. Tulsa

Not Pretty, But Sooners Win

Spectator Sneak Preview

Bob Stoops' take on TCU loss

Texas Christian Sacks Sooners

Moses leads Sooner tight ends

Rufus Alexander Q&A

Thompson gets nod at QB

Birdine Lost For Season

Sampson to Visit Kuwait for Hoops with Troops

Walk-on making noise at WR

Travis Wilson Q&A

Clint Ingram Q&A

Sooners open fall practice

Brent Venables Q&A

Sooner single-game tickets go on sale Monday

Questions about Sooners' aura not surprising

Joseph talks about summer workouts

OU at Big 12 Media Days

Kim Named to U.S. Walker Cup Team

Sooners name Golloway

Stephenson decides to stay at Wichita State

Stephenson takes OU head baseball job

Soon to be Sooners

New Sooner Nic Harris excited about new digs

2005 Season Preview Issue Available Now!!

Letter from the Editor

Q and A

Ever Elusive

Sooner Selections

Ole Miss powers past Sooners

OU's Weekly Sports Report

OU inks JUCO point guard

OU's Kim wins Big 12 Golf Title

White and Vermeil talk about first day of rookie camp

White gets a chance with Kansas City

Red Rallies to Down White

Big crowd expected

Prelude To Greatness?

Breaking Down The Offense

Spring football eases pain

On Sale at Newsstands on Jan. 31, 2019
National Spotlight
Like every other aspect of its football program, OU's Heisman history is rich

The long list of national award winners from the University of Oklahoma reads like a who's who of college football, dating all the way back to the early 1950s when Bud Wilkinson's Sooners dominated the sport like few other programs in history.

All-America linemen Jim Weatherall and J.D. Roberts sandwiched a pair of Outland Trophy awards around running back Billy Vessels' 1952 Heisman Trophy-winning performance that saw him rush for a school-record 1,072 yards and 17 touchdowns. That celebrated trio helped set the tone for an unprecedented winning tradition.

Over the ensuing 64 years, Oklahoma collected four more Heismans, three Outlands, three Jim Thorpe Awards, four Walter Camp Trophies, three AP Player of the Year awards and dozens of other various national honors that make the trophy cases that adorn the new Barry Switzer Center some of the most impressive in the country.

"If you look at what the Oklahoma football program has accomplished since World War II, there are really no other schools that can claim the same amount of success," said legendary OU coach Barry Switzer. "We have won more games during that time, more conference championships and probably more national championships. That does not include all of the individual awards and accolades so many great Sooner players have won along the way."

Since 1946, Oklahoma has indeed won more games (636) than any other Division-I program and posted the highest overall winning percentage (.770), while capturing a total of seven national titles and 48 conference titles.

OU is the only program in college football history to have four head coaches with at least 100 wins during their time at the helm, including Switzer (157-29-4). Also on that list are Bob Stoops (190-48), Wilkinson (145-29-4) and Bennie Owen (122-54-16).

Vessels played three seasons for Wilkinson -- from 1950-52 -- excelling on both sides of the ball. As a sophomore, he rushed for 938 yards and 13 touchdowns while helping OU win its first-ever national title. Vessels was on his way to a potentially huge season in 1951 before suffering a knee injury against Texas that forced him to miss seven games.

Unsure of how he would respond in '52, the speedy back from Cleveland, Okla., silenced all doubters by becoming the Sooners' main offensive threat once again, rushing for 1,072 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also caught 13 passes for 250 yards and two scores and threw for more than 200 yards and two TDs.

"Billy was probably the best football player I was ever around," said J.D. Roberts, the 1953 Outland Trophy winner, awarded annually to the nation's best lineman. "He was tough and versatile and as fast as they came. There wasn't anything he couldn't do on a football field."

While Vessels got the ball rolling with the program's first Heisman in 1952, Oklahoma fans would have to wait 17 long years before another Sooner hoisted college football's most coveted trophy. In between, OU stars like Tommy McDonald, Kurt Burris and Jerry Tubbs each had top-five finishes in the Heisman voting -- with Burris actually finishing as runner-up to Wisconsin running back Alan Ameche in 1954.

But it wasn't until a bruising workhorse named Steve Owens turned in a memorable 1,523-yard, 23-touchdown season in 1969 that another Heisman came home to Norman. The Sooner senior carried the ball a school-record 358 times that season en route to edging Purdue quarterback Mike Phipps for the famous statue.

"It was certainly special to win such a prestigious award like that, and it's something I'll always cherish," said Owens, reflecting on his '69 performance. “Of course, a lot of the credit belonged to my offensive line and the sacrifices they made for myself and our team that season."

Just under a decade later in 1978, Billy Sims became OU's third Heisman Trophy winner. The junior running back ran for a school-record 1,762 yards and 20 touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards every time he touched the ball.

Sims narrowly missed earning a second Heisman the following season when he finished second to USC's Charles White. Over his final two regular-season games -- victories against Missouri and Nebraska -- Sims rushed for 527 yards.

"Billy was one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game," said Switzer. "He had it all -- speed, balance, agility, toughness. He could run over you or run by you. He was amazing to watch."

Linebacker Brian Bosworth finished fourth in the 1987 Heisman balloting, but again, OU fans had a lengthy wait until another Sooner managed to win the award. It finally happened again in 2003 when Jason White accomplished the feat thanks to the greatest passing effort in OU history to that point.

The junior quarterback threw for 3,846 yards and 40 touchdowns while leading the Sooners to the national title game (a 17-14 loss to LSU). The following season, White finished third in the voting behind teammate Adrian Peterson and the winner Matt Leinart of USC.

Four seasons later, Sam Bradford shattered every record that White and basically every other OU quarterback had set over the years. The sophomore QB completed 68 percent of his passes for 4,720 yards and 50 TDs (with only 8 interceptions), and edged Texas' Colt McCoy for Heisman.

"Sam Bradford was one of the best college quarterbacks of all time," said former Texas head coach Mack Brown. "He was athletic and mobile, and he could make any throw he needed to make in basically any situation."

Since Bradford’s win in 2008, the Sooners had not really produced a Heisman contender until a walk-on quarterback named Baker Mayfield began turning heads in 2015. That season, the OU signal caller threw for 3,700 yards and 36 scores, and finished fourth in the voting behind an all-star ballot of Derrick Henry (first), Christian McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson.

A year later, Mayfield was even better -- throwing for 3,965 yards and 40 TDs -- and he moved up to third in the voting, one spot ahead of wide receiver teammate Dede Westbrook (80 catches, 17 TDs).

Then in 2017, the kid from Lake Travis, Texas (located near Austin), finally stepped to the podium after earning the third highest percentage of first-place votes in the award's long history. En route to becoming the first-ever walk-on player to win the Heisman, Mayfield threw for 4,340 yards and 41 TDs while leading the Sooners to a third straight Big 12 title and a berth in the College Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons.

Mayfield was OU's sixth Heisman winner.

"This is unbelievable to me -- to be up on this stage with all of these greats," said Mayfield after becoming the 83rd Heisman Trophy winner on Dec. 9, 2017.

"OU has been the biggest difference-maker for me. You talk about OU, you talk about the people who changed my life, the mentors I've been around, the relationships I've built. Those are (going to) be for a lifetime for me. I say it all the time, it's been a dream come true."

One year later, Kyler Murray became OU's seventh Heisman winner, following up Mayfield's memorable senior season with his own remarkable season-long performance. The redshirt-junior quarterback leads the nation with a school-record 4,945 total yards, including 4,053 through the air and another 892 rushing the ball.

Oklahoma becomes only the fourth school to claim back-to-back Heisman winners, and the Sooners have now collected four Heisman Trophies in the last 16 years -- White (2003), Bradford (2008), Mayfield (2017) and Murray (2018).

Oklahoma's seven Heismans are now tied for the most all time with Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Murray, who transferred in from Texas A&M prior to the 2016 season, threw for 40 touchdowns and ran for 11 more. The Allen, Texas, native earned 517 first-place votes and 2,167 points, and was followed by Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (1,871 points, 299 first-place votes) and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins (873 and 46).

"This is crazy," said Murray in the aftermath of winning the award. "This is such an honor -- something I'll never forget, something I'll treasure for the rest of my life."

(Editor's Note: This story appears in Sooner Spectator's 2018 Heisman/Bowl Preview issue. To read more or subscribe, call 405-364-4515)