Oklahoma Football: Top 10 Quarterbacks in Modern Sooners History

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Nov 21, 2015; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners sooner schooner during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 – Darrell Royal (1946-49)

Darrell Royal was an All-American quarterback at Oklahoma, but he is perhaps best known as the former head coach and longtime athletic director of the Sooners’ biggest historical rival, the Texas Longhorns. He was just as well respected and loved by Sooner fans at the end of his life as he was when he was a star at Oklahoma. And believe me, that doesn’t happen to just anyone, especially someone who spent most of his professional life with burnt orange coursing through his veins.

Royal was born in Hollis, Okla. With all the years he lived in Texas, he loved the Lone Star State, said Claude Arnold, who followed Royal as the quarterback of the Sooners and led OU to its first national championship in 1950. “He was very strong down there (Texas), but he still thought of himself as an Okie,” Arnold told Oklahoma City Oklahoman sports columnist Berry Tramel.

Royal was a true all-around player for the Sooners. He played quarterback on offense, was a defensive back, returned punts and also handled the punting duties. He once punted a ball 81 yards. As a defensive back, he was one of the best ever intercepting passes. His 18 career interceptions still stand as an OU school record.

“He was very strong down there (Texas), but he still thought of himself as an Okie.” –Former OU QB Claude Arnold on Darrell Royal

In 1949, Royal was named an All-American. He threw for 509 yards in the 1949 season, with just one interception, and completed more than 50 percent of his passes, which was considered exceptional in those days. He also ran for 189 yards.

He had punt returns as an OU return specialist of 73 and 95 yards.

Royal was the head coach at the University of Texas for 20 seasons from 1957 to 1976 and doubled during part of that time as the school’s athletic director. He stepped down as the Texas AD in 1980.

Between 1959 and 1972, Texas won two national titles outright and finished in the top five of the Associated Press poll nine times.

Royal died in November 2012 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Next: No. 8 - Eddie Crowder (1950-52)