Other than maybe Oklahoma itself, no state has been more important to the Oklahoma Sooners and their success than Texas. Home of hated rivals, corndog fairs and Friday Night Lights, Texas is the recruiting hotbed that every great football power needs. On any given Saturday throughout college football history, up to half of OU’s roster may be Texan by birth.
Who are the best Lone Star Sooners to ever don the Crimson & Cream? Obviously, some of the greatest — maybe the greatest — OU players of all time hail from Baja Oklahoma. Many are motivated by a desire to stick it to the state or school that didn’t want them badly enough; others just considered OU the superior program, a pragmatic choice in the chase for rings. Whatever the case, here is Part 1 of the 20 greatest Texans in OU history:
20. Dede Westbrook — Cameron
Westbrook’s OU career wasn’t very long, but the kid from Cameron, Texas had a senior season for the ages. Westbrook now holds the OU record for single-game receiving (232 yards) and receiving touchdowns in a season (17). He finished seventh in all-time receiving yards at OU despite playing for just two years.
19. Trent Williams — Longview
This All-American tackle helped keep Sam Bradford upright and led Oklahoma to the 2008 BCS National Championship Game. Earning All-Big 12 honors in his junior and senior campaigns, Williams went fourth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft and is still enjoying a productive career with the Washington Redskins.
18. Mark Clayton — Arlington
Clayton’s 2003 junior season included 1,425 receiving yards and 15 TDs, good for All-America honors. Clayton repeated as an All-American in 2004 and finished his OU career with 31 touchdowns, one of the top receivers of the Stoops era.
17. Carl McAdams — White Deer
McAdams is a classic example of a guy slighted by UT who came to dominate for OU. Passed over by Darrell Royal, McAdams came to relish every Red River game and earned All-America honors as a linebacker in 1964 and ‘65. He was part of Bud Wilkinson’s final squad and one of the best players for the Gomer Jones-led Sooners.
16. Jim Weatherall — White Deer
Weatherall was born in Graham, Texas and attended high school in White Deer (as did McAdams). Part of Oklahoma’s first National Championship in 1950, this defensive tackle was a two-time consensus All-American and a big part of Bud Wilkinson’s first great teams.
15. George Cumby — Tyler
Twice a Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year and thrice an All-American, Cumby emerged from Tyler, Texas, and became one of Barry Switzer’s best-ever linebackers from 1976-79. Switzer once called Cumby “the only person I know who could go one-on-one with Earl Campbell and knock him backwards.”
14. Daryl Hunt — Odessa
Hunt, another linebacker from Odessa Permian, is OU’s career record-holder for tackles with 530. An All-American in 1977 and ‘78, Hunt is considered one of the best players of Switzer’s tenure. He went on to play six seasons for the Houston Oilers.
13. Zac Henderson — Burkburnett
One of the best safeties in Oklahoma history, Henderson picked off seven passes in 1977 and was named the nation’s top defensive back. A four-year starter and a two-time All-American, Henderson led the charge for some ferocious Switzer-era defenses.
12. Greg Roberts — Nacogdoches
This Nacogdoches product played guard for Switzer’s Sooners from 1975-78. During his senior year, Roberts was named consensus first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best interior lineman. He was a vital blocker for rusher Billy Sims — who just might show up on this list later on.
11. Derrick Strait — Austin
Oklahoma plucked Strait right out of enemy territory and turned him into one of the school’s greatest cornerbacks. Strait finished his career with 14 interceptions in 52 career starts, and helped OU capture its latest title in his freshman 2000 season. In 2003, Strait earned consensus first-team All-America honors, the Jim Thorpe Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Come back later this week for the top 10 Texans in Sooners history! And as always, be sure to comment with your own picks and memories of these OU legends.