Les Miles inherited several key players from former OSU coach Bob Simmons — Tatum Bell, Rashaun Woods, Kevin Williams, Greg Richmond, Sam Mayes and others — but he also coached them up, developing returning talent and also adding more.
Selected key players of the Miles era:
Billy Bajema. Also part of Miles' initial recruiting class, Bajema arrived without a position. He became a standout tight end, where he still plays in the NFL.
Tatum Bell. Before Miles arrived, Bell was known for his speed, but also for being a bit soft as a running back. He finished with 3,409 rushing yards.
Josh Fields. Part of Miles' first recruiting class, Fields gets overlooked in the roll call of Cowboys quarterbacks. All he did was win. And he beat OU twice.
Corey Hilliard. An offensive line anchor for most of four seasons, Hilliard ranks among OSU's great tackles.
Charlie Johnson. Convinced to move from tight end to tackle, Johnson found a position that would carry him to the Super Bowl.
Sam Mayes. A late addition to Simmons' final recruiting class, Mayes developed into a three-year starter and reflected the toughness Miles sought.
Vernand Morency. Another of the school's successful pro baseball converts, Morency was a great find and a workhorse tailback.
Greg Richmond. Under Miles, Richmond moved from linebacker to defensive end and became a pass-rushing force. His 21 1/2 career sacks rank third at OSU.
Darrent Williams. Taking a chance on the undersized Williams in their first recruiting class, the Cowboys found a lockdown corner.
Kevin Williams. A raw athlete out of Arkansas, Williams evolved into a dominant defensive tackle and a top-10 NFL draft pick under Miles. Check him out in OSU's 16-13 win over OU in 2001.
The Woods brothers. The argument can be made that Rashaun is the greatest OSU receiver ever. Who made more clutch plays? D'Juan followed as another reliable wideout, and Donovan quarterbacked an Alamo Bowl team and unselfishly moved to linebacker and made plays.