Baker Mayfield finished in the top four of the Heisman Trophy voting all three of his seasons at Oklahoma, winning the award in 2017
Sure, there’s one glaring weakness to their overall resume, but the Oklahoma Sooners dominated their competition throughout the last decade. During the 2010s, Oklahoma won the Big 12 conference championship six times outright and shared the title in another season. For perspective, Clemson won six ACC Championship Games during the decade. Alabama won the SEC five times, and Ohio State took care of the Big Ten on four occasions.
Oklahoma posted a 109-25 record (.813 winning percentage) from 2010-19. The Sooners failed to win 10 games just once (2014) and won at least 11 games seven times. Over that span, head coaches Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley produced nine consensus All-Americans. Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Mayfield finished in the top four of the vote in each of the previous two seasons, quarterback Jalen Hurts was the runner-up in 2019, and receiver Dede Westbrook finished No. 4 in 2016 while also winning the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the best receiver in the country. Other national award winners included Mark Andrews (John Mackey Award, 2017) and the offensive line (Joe Moore Award, 2018).
Needless to say, there was no shortage of options for our Oklahoma football All-Decade Team of the 2010s. And in some instances, there were too few spots to hold the number of Sooners worthy of recognition.
QB: Baker Mayfield (2015-17)
RB: Samaje Perine (2014-16)
RB: DeMarco Murray (2006-10)
AP: Joe Mixon (2015-16)
WR: CeeDee Lamb (2017-19)
WR: Dede Westbrook (2015-16)
WR: Ryan Broyles (2009-11)
TE: Mark Andrews (2015-17)
C: Gabe Ikard (2009-13)
OL: Ben Powers (2016-18)
OL: Dru Samia (2015-18)
OL: Orlando Brown Jr. (2014-17)
OL: Daryl Williams (2010-15)
DL: Frank Alexander (2008-11)
DL: Charles Tapper (2012-15)
DL: Jeremy Beal (2007-10)
DL: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (2014-17)
LB: Eric Striker (2012-15)
LB: Kenneth Murray (2017-19)
LB: Dominique Alexander (2013-15)
DB: Javon Harris (2009-12)
DB: Zack Sanchez (2013-15)
DB: Quinton Carter (2006-10)
DB: Tony Jefferson (2010-12)
K: Austin Seibert (2015-18)
P: Tress Way (2009-12)
RS: Jalen Saunders (2010-13)
Toughest Position: Wide receiver
There are several very competitive positions groups on our list. First and foremost, we were forced to leave off a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (Kyler Murray) and another who finished second in the voting (Jalen Hurts). Most schools aren’t so lucky. There were also close races at linebacker, where Travis Lewis (who ranks third on the Oklahoma all-time tackling list and finished his career in 2011) came up short. At defensive back, Demontre Hurst ranks fourth in pass breakups for a career (35) in school history. Kicker Michael Hunnicutt was the all-time leading scorer in OU history before his replacement, Austin Seibert, became the NCAA leader. Hunnicut still holds the Sooners' career mark for field goals (75) by a solid margin.
But we could have written any of at least six Oklahoma receivers from the 2010s, and there would have been both a complete and solid case for each and an argument to be made that others were better. In addition to the three on our list, Sterling Shepard, who racked up 3,482 receiving yards and hauled in 26 receiving touchdowns, is the second leading receiver in Sooners history and ranks No. 10 in yards from scrimmage (3,591). Kenny Stills (2,594) ranks sixth on the Sooners' all-time receiving list. Marquise Brown posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, averaged 18.3 yards per catch and scored 17 times (which ranks No. 11 in school history) in only two years as a Sooner.
Deepest Position: Quarterback
The Sooners have benefitted greatly from elite quarterback play, especially in recent seasons when Oklahoma signal-callers have largely dominated the Heisman Trophy conversation. In addition to winning the Heisman in 2017, Mayfield earned the nod for us because he started three years, as opposed to the single magical seasons Murray and Hurts each spent in the spotlight.
But let’s not forget, Landry Jones still ranks No. 3 on the all-time FBS list with 16,646 career passing yards, and his 123 passing touchdowns rank No. 7 — just behind Mayfield (131). At nearly any other school, a player that ranked in the top 10 all-time in passing yardage and touchdowns would have been a unanimous selection from his school’s all-decade team.
Weakest Position: Return Specialist
Simply put, there are no weak spots on the Oklahoma roster from the 2010s. Sure, complaints can be made on the defensive side of the ball, with the secondary earning the most ire over the years. Elsewhere, punting hasn’t necessarily been a major strength, but given the Sooners’ elite play on offense, OU hasn’t needed its punters very often, so it’s not worth singling out.
Moving down the list, part of the solution to our overflow problem at receiver would have been to move an otherwise deserving wideout to the return specialist slot. And while players like CeeDee Lamb, Sterling Shepard, and Dede Westbrook played a role on special teams, none was outstanding enough to supplant Saunders, who scored on three punt returns in his career, which remains the second-most in school history. Saunders was a weapon, as was kick returner Alex Ross, who deserves recognition as well. Regardless, it would have been nice to reserve a spot for another player that ranked among the nation’s best all-around players, as several deserving Oklahoma receivers were.