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Oklahoma’s Greatest Football All-American (1971-1973)

Steve-owens-1968-69_medium
Steve Owens 1968, 1969

Well, Steve Owens won in a predicted landslide for the period of 1963-1969 and now the easy decisions are done. In the next couple of days we have to decide who was the better All-American between Jack Mildren, Gregg Pruitt, Rod Shoate and Lucious Selmon. Yeah, and the next round won’t be any easier either but we’ll get there on Wednesday. Let me just say this, OU went without an All-American in 1970 but would make up for it with 10 players selected between 1971 and 1973 – three of them were named twice during that period and one of them would be a three time selection. Good luck with this lot! Let us know who you think was the greatest.

 

Greg Pruitt, HB - 1971, 1972
Greg Pruitt earned consensus All-America honors in 1971 and '72. He still owns school records for most yards in a game (294 against Kansas State in 1971) and all-purpose running yards in a game (374) and season (1,946). His 9.41 yards per rushing attempt in 1971 is an NCAA record.

Pruitt finished third in the Heisman voting in 1971 and second in 1972. He was chosen NCAA Football Player of the Year by the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., in 1972. He rushed for 1,665 yards as a junior, but was injured with three games left in his senior year and was denied a second consecutive 1,000-yard season. Up to that point, Steve Owens was the only other conference player in history to accomplish this.

He was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Browns in 1973. He became the 13th Sooner player in the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1999.

Jack Mildren, QB - 1971
When people talk about the powerful wishbone offenses of the 1970s at OU, Jack Mildren's name comes up every time. The 1971 All-American was the quarterback of one of the greatest offenses in college football history. During that year, the Sooners led the country in rushing, total offense and scoring.

Combining speed (4.6 in the 40) and a strong arm, Mildren was an exciting player to watch. An extremely accurate passer, Mildren owns the school record for passing efficiency with a rating of 207.1 during the 1970 season.

Mildren equaled his athletic accomplishments in the classroom. Some of his honors include the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, Graduate Fellowship Winner-National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, National Collegiate Athletic Association and GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American. He was inducted into the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame in 1998.

He was drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Colts in 1972. Mildren served as Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma from 1990 to 1994.

Tom Brahaney, C - 1971, 1972
Tom Brahaney was named a consensus All-American in 1971 and '72. In the 1971 "Game of the Century," which the Sooners lost to Nebraska 35-31, the Huskers' Outland Trophy winner Rich Glover called him the best center he had played against all year.

In 1972, Brahaney was a finalist for the Lombardi Award (Lineman of the Year). During the 1971 season, the Sooners led the nation in rushing, total offense and scoring, all brought about by the Brahaney-led offensive line. He was named to the all-conference squads in both 1971 and '72.

He was drafted in the fifth round by the Denver Broncos in 1973.

Rod Shoate, LB - 1972, 1973, 1974

In 1974, Rod Shoate became only the second Sooner three-time All-American. He also earned the honor in 1972 and '73. With the speed of a running back (4.5 in the 40) and extraordinary strength, the linebacker was a dominant force. His 420 career tackles placed him third on the all-time list.

It was clear early on in his career that Shoate was special, as he recorded 22 tackles during his sophomore year against Iowa State. The Associated Press designated him the National Lineman of the Week.

He was taken in the second round by the New England Patriots in 1975.

Derland Moore, DT - 1972
Derland Moore was named to the Associated Press and Gold Sheet All-America teams. During his career, he had several huge plays in big games. Against Nebraska in 1972, he blindsided Nebraska's QB, causing a fumble that set up the winning field goal.

He was named National Lineman of the Week after the Texas game, when he blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown. He scored a touchdown himself in that game when he recovered a fumble in the end zone. Moore was named all-conference in 1971 and '72.

He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the second round in 1973.

Lucious Selmon, NG - 1973
Lucious Selmon received consensus All-America honors in 1973. The oldest brother of perhaps the most famous trio of brothers in OU history, Lucious and his younger brothers, Lee Roy and Dewey, were all outstanding athletes.

Lucious compiled a long list of accomplishments and accolades during his career at OU. He was named the Big Eight Athlete of the Year in 1973-74 and was named the Top Defensive Player in the conference in 1973.

He was named the Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year in 1973 and finished second in the Outland Trophy balloting (Lineman of the Year). He was described by then head coach Barry Switzer as the best down lineman he had ever coached.

Selmon was drafted in the 16th round by the New England Patriots in 1974.

Eddie Foster, OT - 1973
Eddie Foster was named to the Family Weekly and Walter Camp All-America teams in 1973.

During that year, Foster scored for the first time since he was in high school. It was a lineman's dream scenario. With just a 7-0 lead against Baylor, OU quarterback Steve Davis was heading for the goal line when he fumbled the ball. As Foster waited near the end zone to block, he spotted the ball and pounced on it for a touchdown. Foster said that his roommate and he "had it all planned out how it would happen." The three-year letterman was a large part of what many consider to be one of OU's top offensive lines.

He was drafted in the 12th round by the New England Patriots in 1974.

 

Poll

Who was Oklahoma's greatest football All-American from 1971-1973?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Greg Pruitt, HB - 1971, 1972
    (35 votes)
  • 26%
    Jack Mildren, QB - 1971
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Tom Brahaney, C - 1971, 1972
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    Rod Shoate, LB - 1972, 1973, 1974
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    Derland Moore, DT - 1972
    (3 votes)
  • 14%
    Lucious Selmon, NG - 1973
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Eddie Foster, OT - 1973
    (1 vote)
75 votes total Vote Now