According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, legendary Oklahoma halfback and NFL receiver Tommy McDonald passed away Monday morning at the age of 84. McDonald is one of only two former Sooners (excluding Troy Aikman) to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
Hall of Fame announced that former Eagles' flanker Tommy McDonald passed away this morning. He was 84.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 24, 2018
McDonald was one of the key cogs of Oklahoma Sooners’ record-setting mid-50s squads and was the winner of the Maxwell Award in 1956. If you talk to any knowledgable college football fan about the former Sooner, they’ll tell you that he also deserved the 1956 Heisman Trophy, which instead went to Paul Hornung of the 2-8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Albuquerque native became a major contributor during his junior season in 1955, when he led the team with 715 rushing yards and 15 TDs on 114 carries. He was also the designated passer on option plays. In 1955, he became the first Sooner to score a touchdown in every game of a season, and he did so en route to winning a national championship.
The following season, McDonald picked up right where he left off. After rushing for 853 yards on 119 carries and adding 12 more rushing TDs to his resume, he won the 1956 Maxwell Award and was named Sporting News Player of the Year. He also finished his career as a two-time Consensus All-American and a two-time All-Big 7 (‘55 and ‘56). As Oklahoma continued the sport’s longest winning streak, a second consecutive national championship came McDonald’s way before he wrapped up his college career.
In the third round of the 1957 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected Oklahoma’s superstar. The Eagles had him switch from running back to wide receiver, where he flourished. From ‘57 to ‘63, he was selected to five Pro Bowls, named to two All-Pro First Teams, and won the 1960 NFL Championship.
Fun fact: Tommy McDonald was also the last non-kicker in the NFL to play without a facemask.
After an illustrious career with the Eagles, Cowboys, Rams, Falcons and Browns, McDonald was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. For all the winners and champions that have ever come through Oklahoma, he stands out as one of the elite few to succeed at the height of every level.