Sooner fans have heard their fair share of incredible and unique names over the years. While it takes a special player to make a name for himself at a tradition-rich program like Oklahoma, sometimes the name itself could be considered stuff of legend. A few years ago, The Oklahoman put together a list of great Sooner football names through the decades. Though few could ever top Julius Caesar Watts or George “Buster” Rhymes, some more recent names from the Stoops era are also quite memorable and unique.
(Backs) 2000 National Champion Renaldo Works (2000-03) heads an industrious running back unit by name and example that is bolstered by fullbacks Aaron Ripkowski (2011-14) and Dane Zaslaw (2003-07). The unheralded fullback position rarely gets props for much, so there’s no way a guy named Dane Zaslaw misses this list. Don’t you feel you could find the phrase “Getting a Zaslaw” somewhere in the Urban Dictionary, or perhaps on a craft beer list? A Zaslaw Pale Ale, anyone?
(O-Line and Tight Ends) A few outstanding names have graced OU offensive lines through recent years, including George "Duke" Robinson (2005-08) and Stephen “Bubba” Burcham (1997-00). There’s also tight end James “Bubba” Moses (2002-05), because you can never have too many Bubba’s on a football team. Two stellar OL names, however, stand above the rest, the first being Phil “Wide” Loadholt (2007-08). There aren’t many more mammoth-sized names to sum up a 6’8”, 345-lb., mammoth-sized man. The other headliner of this unit is none other than Stockar McDougle (1998-99), perhaps my favorite name of all time. I’ve always thought a “stockar mcdougle” sounded exactly like it’s spelled: a humorously named immovable object anchoring an offensive line or perhaps a large ocean tanker.
(Wide Receiver) OU fans have seen many record-setting wide receivers roll through the pass-heavy Stoops era, including of course, the aptly named Sterling Shepard (2012-15). Not to be forgotten is the fiercely named Antwone Savage (1999-2002) and the always-dependable Juaquín Iglesias (2005-08), who answered the prayers of his QBs and Sooner fans on many holy Saturdays in the fall. But the name that tops this group is the exciting and versatile LaColtan Bester (2012-13), who despite playing only two seasons at OU, was part an exciting WR core that continually made plays for three different quarterbacks through the 2013 season. He even played a little QB himself on occasion:
(Quarterback) No particularly eye-catching names come to mind at this position in the Stoops era, but since every offense needs a quarterback I’ll go ahead and throw one in: John Nimmo (2007-10), the former walk-on/stand-in for Tim Tebow. I was going to also throw in a Finding Nimmo joke in here, but never mind.
(Defensive Line) The Stoops Era All-Name defensive front lines up ends Charles Tapper (2012-15) and C.J. Ah You (2005-06) on the outside of menacing tackle Dusty Dvoracek (2001-05). Dvoracek Yo’ Self Before You Wreck Yo’ Self… is indeed sound advice to be followed on all occasions.
(Linebacker) The most stacked unit of All-Namers through the Stoops era, this group is led by the championship-winning duo of Rocky Calmus (1998-2001) and Torrance Marshall (1999-2000). Calmus, the “rock” of the 2000 defense, certainly had the name to match his toughness and along with his lively counterpart Marshall, always came through in the clutch. Demarrio Pleasant (2003-07) and ’06 Big 12 Defensive POY Rufus Alexander (2004-06) deserve a spot on this team, as does the high-flying, hard-hitting Eric Striker (2012-15). A couple of young bucks on the current roster, Ogbonnia “Obo” Okoronkwo and Kapri Doucet, also crack this list.
(Defensive backs) I’m taking it back to the 1999 team for a couple of DBs on this list, cornerback Clovis "Pee Wee" Woods (1995-99), who is a cousin of Donovan McNabb, and free safety Rodney Rideaux (also 'Rideau') (1996-99). Originally a standout John Blake recruit, Rideaux stepped up as a senior captain upon the arrival of the Stoops Brothers in Norman, to go with a last name that reminded me of Riddick Bowe. So each time I’d hear it, I’d picture any poor soul in his way on offense taking a punch from a prizefighter.
Cornerback Demontre “Burst” Hurst (2009-12) also naturally makes this list, as does dreadlocked speedster Chijioke Onyenegecha (2004-05). I’ve always wished I could grow dreads and play defensive back for the Oklahoma Sooners. Although the 2004 defense on many occasions struggled against the pass, Chijioke, when not hampered by nagging injuries, was always comin’ to getcha!
(Kicker) Tim Duncan (1999-01), because as boring as this name is, it still amazes me that the great Tim Duncan at one time kicked field goals at OU.
(Punter) Tressler William "Tress" Way (2009-12)…a pretty damn cool name.
Originally, I thought of ranking a top ten of Stoops era All-Namers. But it might be more fun if you all ranked your own in the comments. And of course throw in any names I’ve left off that you feel might also belong.
It’s only fitting that I leave you tonight with this...