The tradition of Oklahoma State Cowboy Football spans
several decades, and boasts one of the nation's top football
powers of the 1940's, a rich bowl history that includes many
of the most prestigious games in college football, ten
conference championships, the 1988 Heisman Trophy, two Pro
Football Hall of Famers, and a new commitment to reach even
greater heights in the years to come.
Oklahoma State Cowboys have been blazing a trail through the NFL for
decades. Along the way, the Cowboys have proven to be some of the top
individual performers in NFL history.
ESPN recently ranked Oklahoma
State as one of the best college football programs in the country, in
regards to its talent pipeline to the NFL. OSU was ranked 15th and
joined Nebraska as one of only two Big 12 Conference programs to make
the elite list.
In the current decade, two Cowboy running backs, Barry Sanders and
Thurman Thomas, have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Both players were named as the league's Most Valuable Player during
Sanders and Thomas, who were teammates at OSU, rank among the
all-time leading rushers in NFL history.
OSU alumni Kevin Williams and Jamal Williams are two of the NFL's
most dominating defensive tackles. Both are four-time Pro Bowlers. Kevin
Williams is fourth in Vikings history with 42.5 sacks by a defensive
tackle. Jamal Williams has long been considered the most physically
imposing defensive tackle in the NFL at 6-foot-3, 350 pounds.
A pair of Cowboys, offensive lineman Jon Kolb, along with Thurman
Thomas, played in four Super Bowls.
Former Cowboy Leslie O'Neal was a six-time Pro Bowler during his
career with the San Diego Chargers.
Antonio Smith was a starter on
the Arizona Cardinals' first Super Bowl team in January 2009. He became
the third-straight Cowboy to play in a Super Bowl, following R.W.
McQuarters (Giants) and Charlie Johnson (Colts).
Johnson returned to
football's biggest stage in 2010 when he and fellow Cowboy alum Jacob
Lacey played for the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, the
most-watched program of any kind in American television history.
Oklahoma State has now had a presence in the last four Super Bowls.
Former Oklahoma State head coach Jimmy Johnson led the Dallas Cowboys
to a pair of Super Bowl titles.
Oklahoma State wide receiver
Justin Blackmon was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars with
the fifth overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. He is the fourth
Cowboy in four years to be drafted in the first round and is
highest-drafted Oklahoma State player since Barry Sanders was the
third overall pick of the 1989 draft.
Blackmon won the Biletnikoff Award presented to college
football's best receiver in in both 2010 and 2011, becoming only the
second player to earn the award twice (Michael Crabtree won it in
2007 and 2008).
"There are so many people who have helped me get to this point,
but I really want to thank Coach Gundy, my receivers coaches Brewer
and Dunn, my strength coaches Glass and Tudman, all my teammates and
the entire staff at Oklahoma State," Blackmon said. "I'm proud that
I got to be part of a group that accomplished so many firsts at OSU.
We had so much fun and I wouldn't trade my experience for anything."
Oklahoma State quarterback
Brandon Weeden was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the
22nd pick of the first round of the NFL Draft today. He joins
Justin Blackmon as first-round picks in this year's draft.
This marks the second time in the last three years that Oklahoma
State has had two first-round picks in the same draft, as
Russell Okung and
Dez Bryant were both first-round picks in 2010.
Weeden and Blackmon served as the most recognizable players in
Oklahoma State's rise to prominence the last two seasons, as the duo
helped lead the Cowboys to a 23-3 record during their time as
passing game front-men.
In his two seasons as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback,
Weeden was 6-0 in head-to-head battles against 2012 NFL Draft
headliners Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Nick
Foles. He led the Cowboys to their first-ever Big 12 championship,
first-ever BCS bowl game appearance and first-ever BCS bowl game
victory as a senior.
"Thank you to everyone who helped me get to where I am," Weeden
said. "There were so many people along the way that I can't name
them all. I'm honored to be in the position that I am. It's taken a
lot of hard work and a lot of support from the people around me and
I'm very thankful of that."
Considered a highly-ranked NFL prospect after his junior year,
elected to return to Stillwater for his senior year and finished off his
career as one of the winningest players in Cowboy football history.
During his time at OSU, he started in four bowl games and was a key
component of the Pokes being ranked in the top 10 during both the 2008
and 2009 seasons.
Despite having his college
career cut short, Dez Bryant's name is prominent in the Oklahoma State
career record book. He is third all-time in touchdown receptions with 29
and is fourth in both receptions (147) and receiving yards (2,425).
Bryant's 194 career points scored are good for 12th on OSU's all-time
"Going to Oklahoma State was the best thing that ever happened to me,"
Bryant said. "I had a great experience there because of my teammates and
coaches, the fans and really everyone there. It's a great place and I'll
always be a Cowboy."
Past Cowboys taken in the first round have included six-time Pro
Bowler Leslie O'Neal, Heisman Trophy runner-up Terry Miller, NFL Hall of
Famer and Heisman winner Barry Sanders, defensive back and Super Bowl
champ R.W. McQuarters, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams and
receivers Rashaun Woods and Hart Lee Dykes.
Dez Bryant dreamed of playing for the Dallas
Cowboys, and his electrifying plays at Oklahoma State
allowed him to make those dreams come true. Bryant was
drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2010 NFL
Over 140+ members of the Oklahoma State football team have played in
the NFL. This list includes numerous Pro Bowlers, MVPs, and two Hall of
Famers. There are over 30 former OSU players on active NFL rosters:
Thurman Thomas played in four Super Bowls
with the Buffalo Bills and was a five-time Pro Bowl
selection. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of
Fame in 2007.
R.W. McQuarters has had a lengthy career in
the pros, and has helped anchor the defensive secondaries of
several teams. McQuarters helped the New York Giants win
Super Bowl XLII.
It didn't take long for defensive tackle
Kevin Williams to make an impact in the NFL. Williams has
become a dominant presence with the Minnesota Vikings, and
one of the best defenders in the league.
Big plays by rising defensive stars helped
the Arizona Cardinals reach Super Bowl XLIII, and one of
those rising stars was Oklahoma State's Antonio Smith. The
former Cowboy defensive end now plays for the Houston
Jacob Lacey joined the Indianapolis Colts as
an undrafted free agent and by the end of the year was
playing for the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
Brandon Pettigrew has emerged as one of the
top young tight ends in the NFL.