Oklahoma football: ESPN lists OU in top 5 in 5 different historical position groups

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

With the beginning of a new college football season right on our doorstep, the staff at ESPN is offering up in annual “Position U” designations, identifying the schools that historically produce the most talent at every position. Oklahoma football is especially well represented on the offensive side.

In recent seasons, the Sooners have emerged as college football’s best place for the recruitment and development of quarterbacks, thus the designation “Quarterback U.” According to the Position U decision makers at ESPN, the Sooners continue to reign as QBU in 2022, despite losing Lincoln Riley, the coach who has become known as the quarterback whisperer, to USC.

UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel is the man under center and in the shotgun this season for the Sooners. How he and new offensive coordinator (who, incidentally, isn’t new to Gabriel, having coached him his freshman season at UCF) will undoubtedly play a big role in determining if Oklahoma retains its QBU reign next season.

Regardless, if Venables is able to keep recruiting top quarterback prospects, the Sooners should be able to maintain a top-five standing at that critical position.

While quarterback may be the most impressive position for OU on a national basis in recent years, the Sooners have also been among the best in the game in several other position groups.

The criteria used in establishing the rankings is fairly simple, beginning with the time frame evaluated. The time period covers college football players from 1998 forward. ESPN says it chose 1998 because, as the beginning of the BCS era, it seemed like a logical starting point. Schools were assigned points for All-American and all-conference selections as well as for success in the early years at the next level.

The Sooners rank No. 5 nationally at the running back position in ESPN’s updated Position U rankings. Also, No. 4 at wide receiver and No. 4 at offensive line.

In addition to ranking each position group on a national scale, the college football staff at ESPN  ranked the best team in every major conference by position group. In the breakdown by conference, Oklahoma was ranked the historical leader in the Big 12 in six position groups, all five on offense and one on defense (linebackers).