ESPN recently counted down the Top 10 Greatest Big 12 Players of all-time and four different Oklahoma Sooners’ players made the list. As a matter of fact, Oklahoma and the Texas Longhorns made up seven of the Top 10 spots. Here is a look at the Sooners who made the list.
First, the criteria for the list was that the pro careers didn’t matter and players had to play at least one season in the Big 12. The top two players on the list were both Longhorns: Vince Young at first and Ricky Williams at second. Ndamukong Suh was ranked third and was only one of two defensive players in the Top 10.
The first Oklahoma Sooners player in the ESPN Greatest Big 12 Players countdown was Sam Bradford at fourth. Bradford was at OU for three years, but only played for two full seasons due to an injury that destroyed his entire junior year. He finished his career with a 175.62 passer rating, the highest in NCAA history. In 2008, he threw 50 touchdowns and only eight interceptions while leading the OU offense to score more points than any team in NCAA history.
Colt McCoy ranked fifth and closely following him on the list of ESPN Greatest Big 12 Players was Adrian Peterson. Peterson, much like Sam Bradford, played under three full seasons thanks to injuries – for Peterson it was a torn clavicle in this shoulder. Unlike the two Sooners who bookend Peterson, Adrian did not win a Heisman, although he deserved it in his freshman season. Despite his injuries, Peterson finished his OU career only 73 yards short of breaking Billy Sims Sooners’ rushing record.
Robert Griffin III took the seventh spot and then quarterback Jason White came in at eighth. The Sooners’ second Heisman trophy winner of the Stoops’ era, White began his career with a series of knee injuries, but he was able to return from those and play the best football of his career on two bad knees. In the season he won the Heisman, after the two injuries, he threw for 3.846 yards, 40 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. He also led the Sooners to back-to-back national title games, and while they lost both times, getting there proved he was one of the best in the nation.
Ranking ninth on the ESPN Greatest Big 12 Players list is Oklahoma Sooners’ safety Roy Williams. He went on to have a successful NFL career, but it paled in comparison to his college achievements. He was the best defensive player on the team that won the national championship in 2000 and will always be remembered for the Red River Rivalry game where he flew over the line like Superman and knocked the ball out of Chris Simms hands. There have been a lot of great defensive players at OU, but Williams remains the best.