It’s game week, everybody! We’ll only five days away from the opener down in H-Town, so today we’ll highlight OU’s five Heisman winners.
OU’s first Heisman winner came in 1952 in the form of Billy Vessels. During a time in which people ate cigarettes for lunch, the Sooners were on top of the football world, and Vessels was the program’s lone Heisman winner during that era. Vessels ran for 1,072 yards that season, which ranked second nationally. He’d go on to be drafted second overall in the NFL draft, but he instead elected to play for the Edmonton Eskimos, where he won the Schenley Award as the top professional Canadian football player as a rookie.
Steve Owens would become OU’s second winner of the award in 1969, and he did it with a style much different than Vessels. Owens was a bruising back who carried the ball 358 times in 1969 for 1,523 yards while scoring 23 touchdowns. I think it’s safe to say that he’s the greatest workhorse in the history of the program. After all, Owens once carried the ball FIFTY-FIVE TIMES in a game!
OU’s third Heisman winner, Billy Sims, is OU’s only winner to not hail from the Sooner state. Sims could absolutely do it all as a runner. He had world-class speed, power and juking ability, which definitely translated to the National Football League before his career was cut short due to injury.
OU’s fourth winner didn’t come until 2003 when Jason White took college football by storm with two bad knees. White doesn’t get the respect he deserves in OU or Heisman lore, but the guy threw about as accurate a deep ball as anyone I’ve seen at the collegiate level. (Warning: BAD MUSIC ALERT! Hit the mute button for the video below).
OU’s most recent Heisman winner was as productive as they come and led the most efficient offense in the history of college football as a sophomore. I’m still holding out hope that he’ll someday have a decent supporting cast in the NFL.