The 2010s ended for the Oklahoma Sooners with a blowout loss to the LSU Tigers in the semifinals of the College Football Playoff, a thudding finale to a decade filled with far more successes than disappointments.
A parade of stars racked up major individual awards for the Sooners from 2010 to 2019. The back half of the decade saw OU win five consecutive Big 12 championships, bringing their total number of conference crowns in the 10-year span to six. (Seven if you want to count the one shared with the Kansas State Wildcats.)
Assembling an all-decade team from the players who came through the OU program since 2010 was no simple feat. Here’s our best effort anyway:
QB: Baker Mayfield
RB: Samaje Perine
RB: Joe Mixon
FB: Dimitri Flowers
WR: Sterling Shepard
WR: Ryan Broyles
WR: CeeDee Lamb
TE: Mark Andrews
C: Gabe Ikard
OG: Ben Powers
OG: Adam Shead
OT: Daryl Williams
OT: Orlando Brown
K: Austin Seibert
P: Tress Way
Toughest omissions: RB Kennedy Brooks, WR Marquise Brown, TE James Hanna, C Creed Humphrey, OT Lane Johnson, FB Trey Millard, RB Demarco Murray, QB Kyler Murray, OG Dru Samia, WR Kenny Stills, OT Tyrus Thompson, WR Dede Westbrook
*We had to leave off a Heisman Trophy winner and two other finalists for college football’s most prestigious honor, which tells you all you need to know about the offensive pyrotechnics around Norman lately.
*If you were to name an MVP of the decade for the Sooners, Mayfield would win hands down, right? The first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft quarterbacked OU to three Big 12 titles and two appearances in the Playoff. He also played an instrumental role in reviving the program at the tail end of Bob Stoops’ career and bridging the gap into the Lincoln Riley era.
*To be fair, Kyler Murray was even more impressive in his one season at the helm of the OU offense than his predecessor.
*Jason Kersey of The Athletic is reporting that running back Kennedy Brooks will return for another season. That would give him a chance to join Perine in the club with three consecutive years topping 1,000 yards on the ground, which would make for a hell of a career.
*As a four-year starter, Ikard edged out a solid group of Sooner centers. Humphrey looks like the best player out of the bunch, though.
DL: Frank Alexander
DL: Charles Tapper
DL: Jeremy Beal
DL: Ronnell Lewis
OLB: Eric Striker
OLB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
ILB: Jordan Evans
ILB: Kenneth Murray
CB: Aaron Colvin
CB: Zack Sanchez
S: Tony Jefferson
S: Steven Parker
PR: Jalen Saunders
KR: Alex Ross
Toughest omissions: ILB Dom Alexander, S Quinton Carter, CB Jamell Fleming, DL Neville Gallimore, DL Geneo Grissom, LB Travis Lewis, DL Ronnie Perkins
*Yeah, this side of the ball is lacking in star power relative to the O.
*Defensive MVP: Striker. It’s not even debatable.
*If you want to point to the origins of the decline of OU’s defense, take a peak at the group of defensive linemen – not an interior player in the bunch. The best single season by any OU defensive tackle probably belongs to Charles Walker in 2015. The best overall career? Neville Gallimore. That’s not saying much.
*Yes, Beal technically played just one season in this decade. Whatever, it’s our list.
*Jefferson was an easy call at safety, but finding a second was a chore. Parker gets the nod essentially based on longevity.
*Saunders is probably underrated for his contributions at wide receiver after transferring into the program from Fresno State. However, he definitely deserves recognition as a punt returner. He arguably saved the 2013 season with a handful of huge returns.