Billy Vessels (1952): The favorite son from Cleveland, Oklahoma, ran for 1,072 yards and 18 touchdowns during his senior season. He clinched the Heisman Trophy while running for 195 yards on 17 carries during a loss at Notre Dame that season. He was the first Heisman winner to play in the Canadian Football League.

Steve Owens (1969): The former Miami High School star scored 23 touchdowns and had two 200-yard plus games. The workhorse still holds the OU record for most carries in a game (55) and career (958). He traded his Heisman Trophy cuff links for a set of Richard Nixon’s Presidential Seal cuff links. Nixon reportedly felt he got the better end of the deal.

Billy Sims (1978): The only non-Oklahoman to win a Heisman at OU, Sims led the nation with 1,762 rushing yards and finished with 20 touchdowns to become only the sixth junior to win the Heisman at the time. He finished second in the 1979 Heisman balloting.

Jason White (2003): The Tuttle High School graduate overcame two ACL injuries to guide Oklahoma to a BCS title bid after throwing for 3,744 yards and 40 touchdowns in his junior season. White competed against 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart in that year’s Orange Bowl.

Sam Bradford (2008): Bradford, barely recruited out of Putnam City North High School, triggered an OU offense by throwing for 4,464 yards and 48 touchdowns against only six interceptions. He became the second sophomore to win the award, which came one year after Florida’s Tim Tebow captured the Heisman.

Runners up

Kurt Burris (1954): The center received 838 points to finish second to Wisconsin’s Alan Ameche (1,058). A beneficiary from a pointed OU campaign for the Heisman, Burris’ run remains the closest a lineman has come to earning a Heisman Trophy.

Greg Pruitt (1972): Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers (1,310 points) edged Pruitt (966) in yet another competition between the rivals. Pruitt rushed for 938 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior season.

Billy Sims (1979): One year removed from winning the Heisman, Sims finished a distant second to USC’s Charles White, whose 2,050 rushing yards was far from Sims’ final rushing total of 1,506. White ended with 1,695 points. Sims, in his senior year, only had 773.

Josh Heupel (2000): While Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke (1,628 points) won the Heisman, Heupel (1,552) won the national championship over the Seminoles in the Orange Bowl a few weeks later.

Adrian Peterson (2004): Oklahoma’s dynamic freshman finished second to USC quarterback Matt Leinart by a 1,325-997 margin in points. The third-place finisher was Jason White. The 2003 Heisman winner ended with 957 points.

OU quarterbacks who paired a Big 12 championship with a Heisman Trophy finalist trip

Josh Heupel: In 2000, the senior finished second in voting after guiding Oklahoma to its first Big 12 title.

Jason White: The quarterback won the Heisman Trophy in 2003 and finished third in 2004 voting.

Sam Bradford: Bradford won the Big 12 and Heisman in 2008 after piloting OU to a 2007 conference championship as well.

Baker Mayfield: In 2016 and 2017, Mayfield led the Sooners to league crowns. He finished third in Heisman voting last season and is considered the frontrunner for the 2017 award.

Note: Nate Hybl (2002), Paul Thompson (2006) and Landry Jones (2010 and 2012) were also starting quarterbacks on the Sooners’ Big 12 championship teams.

— Eric Bailey, Tulsa World

Eric Bailey


Twitter: @ericbaileyTW

Sports Writer

Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391