After that first season, Stoops instituted Oklahoma's annual football awards banquet and honored defensive end Corey Heinecke and linebacker Roger Steffen as the first recipients of the Derrick Shepard Most Inspirational Walk-On Player of the Year award.
Heinecke and Steffen each went on to earn scholarships, and played key roles the next season on Oklahoma's national championship team.
During his true freshman season, Sterling Shepard has caught 41 passes for 578 yards and three touchdowns, doing it all while wearing the same No. 3 jersey his father wore nearly three decades ago.
Ripkowski, from Dayton, Texas, made his mark on special teams and in the short-yardage “Belldozer” package.
After presenting the award last week, Stoops announced that Ripkowski would be put on scholarship.
The sophomore fullback said the award is made even more significant because he's Sterling Shepard's teammate.
“We all have respect for his family, and everything his dad did for the program,” Ripkowski said. “It's a great honor to be able to win that award, to be named somebody worthy of getting that award.”