A few top 100 lists had been attempted, yet it had been a while. Still, putting together a list of the top 125 Sooners ever to lace up their cleats didn’t feel like an impossible order.

Then I did it.

It took longer than I’d ever figured it would. The first 7-8 hours were spent coming up with top 15 to 20 lists at every position.

Not easy.

Weeks of ruminating became a solid 12-13 hours of trying to get it right and, though I know it will spark heated disagreement, I stand by it.

I stand by it knowing there was a bias for the last, oh, 48 years, rather than the more than 70 that preceded them — because I’m 50, not 150 years old — though I did my best to make it exhaustive and accurate.

Also, I stand by it knowing I’ve reinterpreted some Sooners, thereby ranking them significantly lower and higher than previous arbiters have judged.

Though OU claims four Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, who entirely or mostly earned the trophy via their ability to throw the football, the shadow of Barry Switzer continues to loom so large over the program.

That’s why running backs continue to be treated so well, in front of all other positions, on most lists.

I tried to do something about that, ranking Ryan Broyles No. 8 over Billy Sims at No. 9 and Joe Washington at No. 10, and still I think I may have shortchanged Broyles.

Do you realize that when he finished up, four games sooner than he should have, thanks to a senior-season-ending knee injury, he’d caught more passes, 349, than any other Division I player ever? Or that his 45 TD catches ranked fifth on the all-time list and that his 4,586 yards ranked second and still ranks third?

No Sooner running back put together that kind of career, not one, though you know who came close?

That would be Samaje Perine, who came in No. 18, 13 spots behind Greg Pruitt, nine behind Sims, eight behind Washington, yet 11 spots in front of Steve Owens, 15 in front of Quentin Griffin, 32 in front of the historically underrated DeMond Parker and 44 in front of the — sorry — the historically overrated Adrian Peterson.

Do you realize the leading ground grainer in Sooner history is Perine? Or that he chalked up those 4,122 yards and 49 touchdowns in only three seasons, and that his 6.0 yards per carry over his career is significantly better than Peterson’s 5.4 and far and away better than Owens’ 4.3?

Indeed, no Sooner may be more difficult to rank than Owens, who won the 1969 Heisman Trophy playing for a 6-4 Sooner team and averaging only 4.3 per tote.

On the one hand, DeMarco Murray, who is not on the list, was a more effective statistical ball-carrier than Owens. On the other, Owens, like Herschel Walker his Heisman season and Ron Dayne his Heisman season, was practically the whole offense.

I was prepared to rank Owens on the backside of 50 (or 60), before it occurred to me that one man was the entire Sooner offense for two seasons and though that team won just 13 of 21 games, it might have won five or six without him.

A few choices stunned me as I made them.

Billy Vessels came in No. 4, mostly because everything you read and hear about the 1952 Heisman Trophy winner makes him sound more like Babe Ruth than a mere standout from an era when players played both sides of the ball.

Yet, it was Pruitt at No. 5, in front of every other modern- era Sooner running back, that legitimately surprised me. I just couldn’t get away from a junior season in which he averaged 9 yards per carry over 196 attempts.

Still, the biggest stunner was No. 87.

Before I got started on the list, I figured there’d be a place for Uwe von Schamman, who kicked the most famous field goal in Sooner history, a 41-yarder to beat Ohio State in 1977.

What history forgets is von Schamann was kicking into wider uprights, off a tee on hardpan astroturf and that, over three years as OU’s kicker, he made just 30 of 49 field goals total. He’s still a Sooner legend, though not the superior of, perhaps you guessed it … Austin Seibert.

Seibert hit 79.7 percent of his field goals and 85 percent over his final two seasons, might have been the best punter in Sooner history, too, and was a touchback machine as a kickoff man.

For four seasons, in one player, OU didn’t have to worry about three different and very important positions.

That alone is incredible. That he’s OU’s all-time leading scorer — 498 points — and third all-time in the college game is gravy.

Other thoughts?

Forever I’d thought Curtis Lofton was underrated, wrongly put behind Rocky Calmus and Teddy Lehman as Stoops-era linebackers. All three made the list, but Lehman came in first among them at No. 42.

Jamelle Holieway may not be as difficult to rank as Owens, but he’s not easy. He was a magical optioneer, won a national championship and enjoyed three super seasons before injury had him backing up Charles Thompson.

At No. 57, he’s the eighth quarterback on the list behind Baker Mayfield, Jason White, Sam Bradford, Jimmy Harris, Darrell Royal, Steve Davis and Jack Mildren.

Joaquin Iglesias, also historically underrated, came No. 97, ahead of Tinker Owens, Kenny Stills and Billy Brooks, all of whom made the list, and Malcolm Kelly, who did not.

It only seemed right to find a place for at least one Stoops-era fullback, and Trey Millard received the nod at No. 90. Dimitri Flowers and Brody Eldridge received consideration, but Millard was the most productive of the three the rare times OU put the ball in his hands.

Finally, in future lists, Travis Lewis may receive greater consideration, and perhaps putting him No. 118 will allow him to be remembered more fondly.

His 2008 freshman season was one for the ages — 144 tackles, 12 for loss, four interceptions — and had it come his senior year, he would have been an All-American.

Instead, he earned four all-conference honors, twice as a first-teamer, twice as a second-teamer.

There are so many other stories in the list. That’s just a few of them. It’s the nature of lists. Also, it’s the nature of 125 years of Sooner football.

The stories never end.

The list

Researched and compiled by Transcript Senior Sports Columnist Clay Horning

1. Baker Mayfield QB 2015-18

2. Lee Roy Selmon DT 1972-75

3. Roy Williams DB 1998-2001

4. Billy Vessels B 1950-52

5. Greg Pruitt RB 1970-72

6. Brian Bosworth LB 1984-86

7. Jerry Tubbs C-LB 1954-56

8. Ryan Broyles WR 2008-11

9. Billy Sims RB 1975-79

10. Joe Washington RB 1972-75

11. Jason White QB 1999-2004

12. Buddy Burris G 1946-48

13. Tommy McDonald RB 1954-56

14. Keith Jackson TE 1984-87

15. Rod Shoate LB 1972-74

16. Sam Bradford QB 2007-09

17. Jim Weatherall T 1949-51

18. Samaje Perine RB 2014-16

19. George Cumby LB 1975-79

20. Tommie Harris DT 2001-03

21. Tony Casillas NG 1982-85

22. Jimmy Harris QB 1954-56

23. Mark Clayton WR 2001-04

24. Daryl Hunt LB 1975-78

25. Derrick Strait DB 2000-03

26. Kurt Burris C-LB 1952-54

27. Greg Roberts OG 1975-79

28. Rickey Dixon DB 2000-03

29. Steve Owens RB 1967-69

30. Jammal Brown OT 2000-04

31. Tom Catlin C-LB 1950-52

32. Steve Zabel TE-DE 1967-69

33. Quentin Griffin RB 1999-02

34. Gerald McCoy DT 2006-09

35. Darrell Royal QB-DB 1946-49

36. Dede Westbrook WR 2015-16

37. Terry Crouch OG 1979-81

38. Steve Davis QB 1972-75

39. Jim Owens E 1946-49

40. Kyler Murray QB 2016-18

41. Duke Robinson OG 2005-08

42. Curtis Lofton LB 2005-07

43. Sterling Shepard WR 2012-15

44. Mike Vaughan OT 1974-76

45. Dewey Selmon NG 1972-75

46. Bob Harrison C 1956-58

47. Teddy Lehman LB 2000-03

48. Jack Mildren QB 1969-71

49. Ralph Neely OT-DT 1962-64

50. DeMond Parker RB 1996-98

51. Reggie Kinlaw NG 1975-78

52. Rockey Calmus LB 1998-01

53. Antonio Perkins DB-PR 2001-05

54. Granville Liggins NG 1965-67

55. J.D. Roberts G 1951-53

56. Carl McAdams C-LB 1963-65

57. Jamelle Holieway QB 1985-88

58. Jermaine Gresham TE 2006-08

59. Bo Bollinger G 1953-55

60. Jack Mitchell QB 1946-48

61. Derland Moore DT 1970-72

62. Adrian Peterson RB 2004-06

63. Randy Hughes DB 1972-74

64. Jack Jacobs QB-P 1939-41

65. Jim Grisham FB 1962-64

66. Anthony Phillips OG 1985-88

67. Zac Henderson DB 1974-77

68. Kevin Murphy DE 1981-85

69. Marquise Brown WR 2017-18

70. Eddie Hinton WR 1965-68

71. Thomas Lott QB 1975-76

72. Lucious Selmon NG 1971-73

73. Tom Brahaney C 1970-72

74. Mark Hutson OG 1984-87

75. J.T. Thatcher DB-PR-KR 1997-00

76. Louis Oubre OT 1978-80

77. Dante Jones LB 1984-87

78. Darrell Reed DE 1984-87

79. Orlando Brown OT 2015-17

80. Leon Heath FB-B 1948-50

81. Max Boydston E 1951-54

82. Jimbo Elrod DE 1973-75

83. Prentice Gautt RB 1957-59

84. John Roush OG 1972-74

85. Zac Henderson DB 1972-74

86. Josh Heupel QB 1999-00

87. Austin Seibert K-P 2015-18

88. Clendon Thomas RB 1955-57

89. Rick Bryan DT 1980-83

90. Trey Millard FB-TE 2010-13

91. CeeDee Lamb WR 2017-19

92. Cedric Jones LB 1992-95

93. Claude Reeds FB 1910-13

94. Trent Williams OT 2006-09

95. Joaquín Iglesias WR 2005-08

96. Darrol Ray DB-P 1976-79

97. Trent Smith TE 1999-02

98. Mark Andrews TE 2015-17

99. J.C. Watts QB 1977-80

100. Kelly Gregg DT 1995-98

101. Ken Mendenhall C 1967-69

102. Bob Kalsu OT 1965-67

103. Tinker Owens WR 1972-75

104. Dusty Dvoracek DT 2001-05

105. Tony Jefferson DB 2010-12

106. Kenny King FB 1975-78

107. Dan Cody DE 2000-04

108. Wade Walker T 1946-49

109. Bill Krisher G 1955-57

110. Jackie Shipp LB 1980-83

111. Claude Arnold QB 1948-50

112. Kenny Stills WR 2010-12

113. Eddie Crowder QB 1950-52

114. Mike Gaddis RB 1988-91

115. Billy Brooks WR 1973-75

116. Bobby Boyd DB 1957-59

117. Buck McPhail FB-P 1950-52

118. Travis Lewis LB 2008-11

119. Terry Webb OG 1973-75

120. Bob Warmack QB 1966-68

121. Marcus Dupree RB 1982-83

122. Raymond Hamilton DT 1970-72

123. Buster Rhymes RB-WR 1980-84

124. Andre Woolfolk WR-DB 1998-01

125. Gabe Ikard C 2009-13

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