NORMAN—As Bob Stoops enters his 15th season as Oklahoma’s head football coach this fall, Jason Kersey and myself look back at the top 15 OU football players during Stoops’ tenure. The top pick will be posted at 9 a.m. Friday. The No. 2 player is the third local player in the top five, joining Tuttle’s Jason White (No. 5) and Norman’s Ryan Broyles (No. 4). Former Putnam City North standout Sam Bradford burst onto the scene as a redshirt freshman by throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns, completing all but two of his 23 passes, in a 79-10 rout of North Texas in his first game. By the time his career was finished, Bradford held virtually every Sooners passing record.
Jersey No.: 14
Years played: 2006-09
Hometown: Oklahoma City
Big 12 championships: 3
National championships: 0
Individual awards won: 2008 Heisman Trophy, 2008 Consensus All-American, 2008 Davey O’Brien Award (Best quarterback), 2008 Sammy Baugh Trophy (Best passer), 2008 Chic Harley Award (Player of the Year).
Notable: Starred in football, basketball and golf at Putnam City North. … Was a three-star recruit by Rivals.com. … Also had offers from Iowa State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech before becoming the first Sooners commit of the 2006 class. … Redshirted in 2006 before beating out Keith Nichol and Joey Halzle for the starting job in 2007. … Threw for 36 touchdowns, setting an NCAA record for a freshman. … Bradford finished his career with 8,403 passing yards and 88 touchdowns, both best in Sooners’ history. Both marks have since been surpassed by Landry Jones. … As a sophomore in 2008, Bradford threw for 4,720 yards and 50 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. … Played just three games as a junior after suffering a shoulder injury in a season-opening loss to BYU. … After returning for the Baylor game, Bradford re-injured his shoulder against Texas and underwent season-ending surgery. … Declared for the draft after his junior season. … First overall pick in 2010 draft by the St. Louis Rams. … Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010.
THREE MEMORABLE GAMES
Oklahoma 61, Oklahoma State 41
When: Oct. 18, 2008
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater
Bradford’s Day: In the third quarter, Bradford had his Heisman moment on a play that didn’t even result in a score. WIth the Sooners facing third-and-goal from the 9, Bradford scrambled out of the pocket, nearly being brought down back at the 25. But Bradford got free and leaped over a pair of Cowboys defenders and was flipped out of bounds just outside the end zone. A play later, Bradford scored to put the Sooners up 37-26. He finished the game with 370 yards and four touchdowns through the air with no interceptions.
Oklahoma 45, Kansas 31
When: Nov. 29, 2008
Where: Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman
Bradford’s Day: A week after the Sooners suffered a loss to Texas, Bradford broke a school record by throwing for 468 yards in a bounce-back win over the Jayhawks. Bradford did it even after Manuel Johnson, his top target, was hurt in the first quarter. Bradford threw touchdowns to Matt Clapp, Jermaine Gresham and Kolby Smith in the game and completed passes to 10 different receivers.
Oklahoma 28, Texas 21
When: Oct. 6, 2007
Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Bradford’s Day: He had plenty of days with better raw numbers but it was his performance against the Longhorns that lifted him from a redshirt freshman turning in huge games against lesser competition into being regarded as one of the nation’s best quarterbacks. In his first OU-Texas action, Bradford was calm an collected, throwing for 244 yards and three critical touchdowns to lift the Sooners. Each of Bradford’s three touchdowns broke ties, including his 35-yarder to Malcolm Kelly early in the fourth quarter. The Longhorns had tied the game in the opening seconds of the fourth before the Sooners answered with a 12-play, 94-yard drive.