We’re now just nine weeks away from the first weekend of college football! With 64 days until the Oklahoma Sooners kick off their 2017 season against UTEP in Norman, we continue our countdown today with a tribute to a former Sooner who achieved greatness on the football field, in the classroom and community — No. 64, Gabe Ikard.
Originally recruited in 2009 as a tight end prospect out of Bishop McGuinness, Ikard redshirted his freshman year then made the move to the offensive line, first starting out at left guard then switching to center. A two-year team captain who started 48 of his 50 games through his Sooner career, Ikard earned All-Big 12 first team honors in three straight seasons from 2011 to 2013 and was a consensus All-American in 2013.
Besides being one of the best centers during Bob Stoops’ tenure at Oklahoma, Gabe Ikard was perhaps best known for his excellence in the classroom. He graduated with a 4.0 GPA and earned a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies with a biological sciences theme. He also achieved a couple of unprecedented honors for a Sooner football player.
Ikard became the first in Oklahoma football history to earn Academic All-America honors three times and be named the Academic All-American of the Year in 2013. Ikard also won the 2013 Wuerffel Trophy, a national award recognizing student-athletes for their outstanding achievements in athletics, academics and community service.
It takes as much smarts and sharpness as does size and strength to be a center in football, and Ikard truly exemplifies those qualities. To complement his work ethic and example of excellence on the field, he was also known to be one of the most consistent and vocal leaders on the team. Here’s Gabe mic’d up during a Sooners practice.
Through his tenure on the Sooners offensive line, Ikard experienced only one loss each to OU’s prime rivals the Oklahoma State Cowboys (2011) and Texas Longhorns (2013) before concluding his collegiate career in the spectacular win over Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Following his time in Norman, Ikard was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Titans and has also played for the Bills and Browns so far during his pro career. He is currently on the roster in Cleveland entering his fourth season in the NFL.
Here’s to Gake Ikard, an exemplary football player and student-athlete.