Oklahoma football: Is OU the new QBU?

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 14: Baker Mayfield
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 14: Baker Mayfield /

The recent success of Oklahoma football has been, in large part, due to their quarterback play. The Sooners have had two Heisman winners and two first overall picks in the NFL draft in the last two years.

Leading the offense this year is another big-name quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Hurts will keep the trend of talented OU transfer quarterbacks going.

Then you look towards the future, or more specifically recruiting. OU has a five-star quarterback coming this year, Spencer Rattler, who was the No 1 quarterback nationally in his 2019 class.

The Sooners also just picked up a commitment from another five-star quarterback.
However, to be considered QBU (Quarterback University), these players need to leave their marks on Sundays.

Let’s look at the current quarterback, the future and the past, to hopefully answer the question. Has Oklahoma become OU QBU?

The current QB1
You’d think after a Heisman winning quarterback left, there would be a drop-off in talent. Then you look at the next OU quarterback, the former Alabama star, Hurts.

Hurts busted onto the scene during his freshman year at Alabama in 2016, when he threw for 2,780 yards and 23 touchdowns, while leading the Crimson Tide to the national title game.
He didn’t miss a step in his sophomore season, throwing for just over 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns, with only one interception in leading Alabama to another national championship game.

Then his career took an interesting turn.

Hurts struggled in the first half of 2017 College Football Playoff Championship Game, making coach Nick Saban turn to backup Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa reignited the offense and engineered a second half turnaround that ended in Alabama winning the national championship over Georgia.

When the 2018 season came around the quarterback contest was tight, but the Tide ended up awarding the starting job to Tagovailoa. Hurts was on the sideline all last year, leading him to enter the transfer portal.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

Hurts chose to come to the most explosive offense in the country, in hopes of becoming the third Heisman winner and the third quarterback to go No. 1 in the NFL draft in the last three years. And why wouldn’t he? The timing was perfect with Kyler Murray leaving and with all the returning offensive weapons the Sooners had in their high-output offense.

Now that Hurts is on campus and working out with the team, Oklahoma fans are fired up to have a quarterback who has already played in the biggest games and done well in those games.
They are also excited because Hurts is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the country entering the final season in his collegiate career.

He can run when he needs to and he can deliver in the passing game.
Sooner fans should be excited to have him under center this year.

The future is bright
For OU to be considered QBU, the Sooners have to continue to win with outstanding quarterback play. With Hurts in the fold for this season and with what they have coming at the QB position, the immediate horizon looks bright.

Starting with Spencer Rattler, a true freshman from Phoenix, Arizona.
Rattler was a five-star recruit, and he was the no. 1 ranked quarterback in the class, according to 247Sports.

Rattler was so impressive in high school that many people thought he would be a year-one starter in college. But, now he gets to learn under one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the country.

Pair that with a year under Lincoln Riley, one of the best, if not the best, quarterback coaches in the nation. His development in this year will be big.

Rattler already has a golden arm, now he just needs the gunslinger mindset that Riley instills in the quarterbacks, and he’ll make his mark on this football program.

Then there’s Brock Vandagriff, a new commit in the 2021 OU recruiting class. Vandagriff is the No. 1 quarterback in his class, similar to Rattler’s situation. His play style is different enough from Rattler’s, however, that OU’s offense will always keep the opposing defense on its heels.

Vandagriff has an arm, one that throws deep balls on a dot. He’s shown some athleticism in the running game, too. At 6-foot, 3 inches and nearly 200 pounds, he also has the ideal size for a college quarterback.

The two quarterbacks in line to follow Hurts have the talent to keep the Sooners in the conversation of being QBU. That’s really all you can ask for, given the accomplishments of the last two quarterbacks who have come through the Sooner program..

Recent history
Remember when the same school produced back-to-back Heisman winning quarterbacks?
Then those same players made history again being the first quarterbacks from the same school to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in consecutive years.

It hasn’t been two years since two Sooner legends named Mayfield and Murray accomplished that feat. They are the main reason OU is in the conversation for being QBU.

Starting with Mayfield, who took over the college football world with his polarizing flash and confidence. He led OU to two CFP appearances in three years. He also gave the school its sixth Heisman Trophy.

During his career at OU, Mayfield made a name for himself by doing the impossible. Getting out of a sack in the backfield then throwing for a touchdown was almost his calling card for years.
Whenever he left, everyone knew there had to be a drop-off in talent. No team could have that kind of talent at the position good every year.

Then in comes the Texas high school legend Murray, who electrified the Sooner fanbase with his track-level speed and his big arm. Many people compared him to a young Michael Vick because of this unique mixture of skills.

Murray led the Sooners to another Big 12 championship and another Playoff appearance. His one year at the helm of this offense was one of the most impressive seasons by any quarterback.
To have that season after a legendary player left the year before him makes this run of success awe-inspiring.

It’s hard to make the argument against OU being the new QBU because of these two extraordinary success stories coming out of Norman. Many schools would feel lucky to have one Heisman winning quarterback, but OU had two in two years — not to mention four in the last 15 (Jason White in 2003 and Sam Bradford in 2008)..

In conclusion
OU is the new QBU.
When you look at the current situation, the future of the position and the recent success, it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Oh, and the Sooners still have Lincoln Riley, which makes the argument against OU even harder to make.
For those who say that there aren’t enough OU quarterbacks in the NFL for them to be QBU, that’s understandable. But with the current trend, there will be plenty in just a few years.