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Oklahoma’s Greatest Football All-American (1951-1952)

Darrell Royal is moving on as OU’s greatest All-American from 1949-1950 by gaining 40% of the vote in what was our toughest selection yet. The next round shouldn’t anywhere near as difficult though. Not to slide any of the All-Americans from the next era, because they were all worthy of their selections, but there is a reason that only one of them has a statue just east of the stadium.

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Darrell Royal 1949

After Oklahoma saw a record number of All-Americans from 1949-1950 the Sooners slowed down a little the next two seasons with only 6 but this era would also usher in Oklahoma’s first Outland Trophy winner as well as the Sooners’ first ever Heisman Trophy winner.

Jim Weatherall, T - 1950, 1951
Jim Weatherall was a consensus All-American during both 1950 and '51. He opened many of the holes for OU's high-powered offense that finished ninth nationally in rushing offense and seventh in total offense. He also was the placekicker for the Sooners.

Weatherall was the first player in OU history to win the Outland Trophy, awarded to the outstanding lineman in the country. In 1975, he was inducted into the Helms and Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation Hall of Fame.

The two-time all-conference selection was drafted in the second round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1952. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

Tom Catlin, C - 1951, 1952
Tom Catlin was one of the first All-Americans the Sooners had at center, earning the honor in 1951 and '52, beginning a tradition of All-Americans at the position that continued into the '70s.

He was the co-captain of the 1952 team with QB Eddie Crowder. One of the top athletes on the team, Catlin excelled on both offense and defense. During his sophomore year he intercepted a pass against Kansas and took it 19 yards back for a touchdown. Catlin was an extremely accurate deep snapper.

He was also an outstanding student, becoming the first Sooner to be named an Academic All-American by GTE/CoSIDA. The three-time all-conference selection was drafted in the fourth round by the Baltimore Colts in 1953.

Billy Vessels, HB - 1952
Billy Vessels was one of the greatest running backs in OU history. The 1952 consensus All-American was the first Sooner to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy. During that season, he finished second nationally in rushing with 1,072 yards. The two-time all-conference selection also finished second in scoring with 108 points.

He set Sooner records for most rushing yards, scoring and most all-purpose yards (1,472) in a season. In 1952, he was named AP and UPI Back of the Year and UPI Player of the Year. His outstanding play during the 1950 season, in which he led OU in both rushing and receiving, was one of the key factors in Oklahoma's first national title.

He was the first player taken in the 1953 draft by the Baltimore Colts. In 1974, he was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

Buck McPhail, FB/P - 1952
Buck McPhail earned All-America honors in 1952. He and Billy Vessels made up one of the greatest rushing tandems of all time. During the 1951 season, he set a national collegiate record of 8.56 net yards per rush (minimum of 100 rushes).

While leading the way for Vessels during his Heisman Trophy campaign in 1952, McPhail ran for 1,018 yards. He also finished second to Vessels in scoring in the Big Seven. McPhail excelled as a punter for the Sooners. He finished second in the conference with a 39.8 yard average.

He was drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Colts in 1953.

Eddie Crowder, QB/S - 1952
Eddie Crowder earned All-America honors in 1952. His speed and intelligence made him an excellent passer and runner. He had just one interception in 52 attempts during the 1951 season. Against Colorado in 1951, he had four touchdown passes in the first 17 minutes of the game.

Crowder was outstanding on defense with excellent tackling ability at safety. During his two seasons as starting quarterback, he led the Sooners to Big Seven titles. He was a member of OU's first national championship team in 1950. Crowder was an all-conference selection in 1951 and '52.

He was drafted during the second round by the New York Giants in 1953. Later in his career, he served as the head football coach at the University of Colorado in the late 60's and early 70's. 

Poll

Who was Oklahoma's greatest football All-American from 1951-1952?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Jim Weatherall, T - 1950, 1951
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Tom Catlin, C - 1951, 1952
    (0 votes)
  • 84%
    Billy Vessels, HB - 1952
    (38 votes)
  • 2%
    Buck McPhail, FB/P - 1952
    (1 vote)
  • 11%
    Eddie Crowder, QB/S - 1952
    (5 votes)
45 votes total Vote Now