Hello again, Sooner fans! We are exactly two weeks away in our countdown to kickoff, so with just 14 days left before the return of Oklahoma Sooners football, we look back on the best to wear number 14, former OU quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford.
Much like the Sooners’ previous Heisman winner Jason White, Sam Bradford was born and raised in Oklahoma. Bradford attended Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, and throughout his youth, Bradford was a multi-sport athlete. He played basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, and even a little ping pong. If he could play it, Bradford was winning it.
While Bradford shined in other competitive arenas, as well as in the classroom, he shined brightest on the football field. Although he was not the most highly sought-after recruit of his time, he grabbed Oklahoma’s attention with his long, 6’4” frame and ability to place a football anywhere he wanted to with surgical precision. He began his Sooner journey in 2006.
After redshirting his first season on campus, Bradford was ready to take over as the big man on campus. The starting quarterback at any football-loving university is always a big deal, and OU is no exception. In that 2007 season, Bradford told the college football world that his name was a name to remember with his exceptional play. Overall, Bradford had a remarkable campaign, passing for 3,121 yards and recording 36 touchdowns to only eight interceptions en route to a Big 12 Championship.
The next season was like nothing we had ever seen up to that point. Bradford and the Sooner offense broke all kinds of national records with their sizzling scoring pace and tempo. OU ultimately averaged 51.1 points per game and scored 716 total points on the season, a record that would not be broken until the 2013 Florida State Seminoles did so. In the five games played from Nov. 1 through Dec. 6, the Sooners hung 60-plus points on each opponent.
Even though Bradford was usually the best player on the field, his offensive teammates around him were no slouches themselves. Guys like running back DeMarco Murray, offensive tackles Phil Loadholt and Trent Williams, and tight end Jermaine Gresham were a nightmare bunch to go up against.
Bradford and crew went 11-1 heading into the postseason, and found themselves in a three-way tie with Texas and Texas Tech. To determine who would represent the South division in the Big XII Championship Game against Missouri, the conference went with whoever was ranked the highest according to the BCS rankings. Of course, OU won the tiebreaker.
In that conference championship, Oklahoma set a new FBS record with their 5th straight game of scoring 60 or more points. All of that offensive productivity, including his 4,721 yards and 50 touchdowns, as well as a berth into the BCS National Championship Game, gave Bradford all the momentum he needed to award him with the Heisman Trophy, just ahead of Texas’s Colt McCoy and Florida’s Tim Tebow, who was the reigning winner.
Bradford and Tebow squared off in the national championship game, and played a competitive contest. Ultimately, the Gators would defeat the high-octane Sooners, putting an end to an incredible year for the University of Oklahoma.
Expectations were high for Sam Bradford the following season. In an unfortunate turn of events, Bradford suffered an AC joint sprain in his shoulder in the first game against BYU, taking him out for several games. He returned against Baylor for the start of conference play, but his injury was re-aggravated the next week against Texas. That second time, however, proved too much for him to return from. OU finished the injury-riddled season 8-5.
Even though Bradford did not have the final season he wanted to have, he had shown NFL scouts enough to earn him a high draft position. How high? Sam Bradford was drafted with the first overall pick by the St. Louis Rams in the 2009 NFL Draft. Bradford’s first pro season saw him win the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year award. Last season, Bradford completed 71.6 percent of his passes for the Minnesota Vikings, breaking the NFL single-season record for completion percentage.
The Oklahoma boy out of PC North is a hero and a legend ‘round his old stomping grounds. He will be forever be considered as one of the best to ever spin it, and one of the most exemplary young men to light up a scoreboard.
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