Oklahoma football: ESPN names DB Billy Bowman Sooners' 2023 MVP


Third-year defensive back Billy Bowman had many outstanding plays during the 2023 Oklahoma football season and, according to ESPN, he was the Sooners' MVP this season.

Recently, ESPN posted an ESPN+ article (subscription required) naming the players for each of top-25 teams in the final College Football Playoff "who meant the most to their team's success in 2023."

Bowman received the nod in the ESPN article by senior writer Adam Rittenberg. Many fans, including Sooner fans, would take exception to the choice of Bowman over quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who led the Big 12 and ranked in the top 10 nationally in multiple offensive categories this season. A strong case could also be made for Danny Stutsman, considered the leader of the Oklahoma defense. But according to ESPN and Rittenberg. Bowman was most deserving of the honor.

Here is what Rittenberg wrote about the MVP choice of Bowman:

"The Sooners' turnaround in Brent Venables' second season could be traced to the defense and players like Bowman, who earned first-team All-Big 12 honors after a season filled with big plays. 'Everything you would want,' an OU source said."

Bowman finished the 2023 season with six interceptions, second most in the nation, including three returned for touchdowns. One of those pick-six interceptions covered 100 yards and broke a fourth-quarter tie against BYU. His 238 interception yards led all FBS teams.

Bowman was a consensus four-star recruit out of Denton, Texas, when he pledged to Oklahoma as a member of the Sooners' 2021 class. He was originally recruited as a wide receiver but was converted to defensive back.