TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates as he walks off the field after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sooners defeated the Hawkeyes 31-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Oklahoma Sooner seem to fill their roster with star power time after time. However, the most crucial position on the field has had possibly the most recognizable of names over the past decade. It is for this reason that many aspiring quarterbacks want to play at Oklahoma. With the chance to engrave their name in the record books while being given the keys to air it out in the Big XII. While much of that is true, there has never been a more controversial starter than Landry Jones at times...at least from the fan perspective. But, where does he rank in my top 5 of the past decade?
1. Sam Bradford
Without question, this has to be the number one quarterback under Bob Stoops. While Bradford was not the most well known of recruits, his drive and work ethic propelled him to be a No. 1 draft pick selected by the St. Louis Rams. During his career at Oklahoma, Bradford set record after record. Yet, his most productive season came as a sophomore when a highly explosive offense took the field. In this season, Bradford threw 50 touchdowns to 8 interceptions in a Heisman winning campaign. But, one thing eluded Bradford in is short career as a starter at Oklahoma, a national championship. It was not that the opportunity never presented itself as the Sooners took on the Florida Gators in the NCG. Bradford was primed to be the top draft pick yet chose to return for his junior season. It looked to be promising but injuries would rob him of his final season at OU...a choice Bradford stands behind today.
2. Jason White
This was a tough decision as Josh Heupel was deserving of the two spot as well. What puts him over the edge for me is the fact that he was able to overcome the adversity of torn ACLs and still win the Heisman Trophy. Not only was White productive on the field with a 63.30% rate but he is also the only quarterback under Stoops to lead the Sooners to two national championship bouts.
3. Josh Heupel
A national championship is always what you play for on the collegiate level. Coming into a broken down machine, Heupel took the reigns under Bob Stoops and became the oil that was missing. Many fans will remember the patented shovel pass from Heupel that worked like a charm at the turn of the century. While this was a team that was turning around, it was led by a stout defense that helped in taking much of the pressure off the offense. Heupel displayed great understanding of the game as he led the Sooners back to national power status with a national championship. It could be argued the Heupel was deserving of the Heisman as later the Sooners would defeat the Florida St. Seminoles in the NCG, a team boasting Chris Weinke who won the Heisman that season.
4. Landry Jones
The biggest fault Jones has is not being Sam Bradford. The fact that Jones will smash nearly every school record in the passing department means little to nothing to fans as most scream for BCS games and championships. In a season filled with injury, Jones was expected to step up and lead this team to victory as a redshirt freshman. However, he struggled as any would before getting his feet under him. Those struggles resurfaced with the injury of Ryan Broyles and the Sooners new they had to find a solution. That solution came in the form of a running Blake Bell. I would attribute Bell being inserted due to the fact that a power run game was lacking more than a Jones problem though. Fact remains that Jones is the only QB under Stoops to win three consecutive bowl games and will be going for a fourth this season while going for a few more school records.
5. Nate Hybl
Another tough start for a talented player as Hybl fluctuated in and out of the starting lineup due to Jason White being injured. His overall record stands for itself at 20-3 as Hybl continuously proved he was ready to step up no matter the circumstance. However, Hybl would have his shining moment after losing to in-state rival, the Oklahoma St. Cowboys. The Sooners would continue down the road and eventually won the Big XII sending them to the Rose Bowl against Washington St. Here the Sooners would defeat their foe 34-14 while Hybl was named the MVP.