When elusive running back Barry Sanders finally got off the Oklahoma State, he won the Heisman. Then he ran for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns with the Lions. Steve Owen, who was born in Cleo Springs and played at Phillips University, later coached the Giants to 155 victories in 23 seasons during the NFL's early years. Other hall of famers include Sooners wide receiver Tommy McDonald and defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, who was born in Eufaula and posted 78½ sacks in the NFL.
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The Sooner Schooner careening around the field before Oklahoma football games is loaded with history and seven national titles. Coach Bud Wilkinson won the first three, with three more added by Barry Switzer (later a Super Bowl winning coach with the Cowboys) and one by current coach Bob Stoops. Halfbacks Billy Vessels and Steve Owens as well as running back Billy Sims and quarterback Jason White won Heismans. At Bedlam rival Oklahoma State, running back Thurman Thomas was good enough to keep Barry Sanders on the bench. Wide receiver Steve Largent was born and played in Tulsa.
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Oklahoma State fan Darren Hellwege: Football is a rich part of Oklahoma, and always has been. The first commissioner of the National Football League was Oklahoma's Jim Thorpe. Few college programs can match the legacy of Sooner football, with the longest winning streak in college football history, seven national championships and five Heisman winners. Read more from Darren
While in the shadow of its neighbor to the south, Oklahoma high schools produced three ESPN 150 players each of the past two years. Tulsa Union and Jenks are top programs. Spring 2006 D-I signees: 40. Fall 2006 high school football teams: 326.
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