With 80 days remaining until kickoff 2017, we revisit the excellent career of former Oklahoma Sooners defensive end great Dan Cody. The small-town stud from Ada developed into the Sooners’ most feared pass rusher during the big seasons of 2003 and 2004.
Despite being overshadowed playing alongside defensive line stalwarts Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek, Cody enjoyed a standout career of his own while at Oklahoma. Upon further reflection, it’s a travesty he missed the cut for our Top 30 Stoops Era greats so it’s imperative we take this chance to highlight an outstanding Sooner career that too often has gone overlooked.
Debuting as a freshman for Bob Stoops in 2000, Cody first made his mark with his three tackles in Oklahoma's 13-2 victory against Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl. He would conclude his collegiate career as an All-American in 2004 along with being named a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which honors the nation's top defensive end. He also earned back-to-back All-Big 12 first-team selections in his last two seasons as a Sooner.
Cody topped the OU roster in sacks as a junior in 2003 with 10, including three in the Sooners’ 52-9 rout of the Cowboys in Bedlam. Even with Harris, Dvoracek and Teddy Lehman making play after play on OU’s stout 2003 defense, it was Cody who led the team in tackles for loss with 17.
Shortly after kickoff in Bedlam, Dan Cody made sure the Pokes never got comfortable that afternoon in Norman.
Known for his versatility and relentless motor, Cody was deployed both as a down lineman as well as a stand-up edge rusher during his standout senior year and again led the conference with 10 sacks in 2004. He also added a team-high 15 tackles for loss along with 12 quarterback hurries while playing an integral part in the Sooners going unbeaten for the second consecutive regular season and appearing in back-to-back BCS title games in ’03 and ‘04.
Cody also had another battle to overcome as a collegian: clinical depression. Awarded a medical hardship in 2001, Cody battled back and returned the next year from his condition valiantly and became an example for many with his perseverance, work ethic and attitude. Always giving his full support to his teammates, Cody luckily had the same from his teammates, especially fellow defensive lineman Kory Klein and roommate/defensive back Michael Thompson, as well as his head coach. Bob Stoops said the following to The Oklahoman in 2002:
"We all worried about Dan," Bob Stoops said. "It's hard for anyone to put their finger on it, but we understood, and we treated Dan just as though he had a knee injury or a shoulder injury or something else. It's no different. We wanted him to get healed up and be strong again."
In OU’s golden era of the early 2000s, the name Dan Cody may not come to mind right away of standout Sooners winning awards and making national headlines. But in reality he’s not that far removed from some of the best to ever play defense at Oklahoma. A second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, he was certainly known as one of OU’s toughest and most passionate players under Bob Stoops, and will be remembered as much for being a leader as he will for becoming one of the most productive defensive ends in the modern era of Oklahoma football.