Opinion: The 5 most underrated Sooners of all time


It’s a word that gets thrown around loosely. You hear it when talking about athletes, rappers, musicians, songs, coaches, actors, i could go on all day. Our good friends at Oxford define the term as “to underestimate the extent, value, or importance of someone or something”. In layman’s terms: Their importance, or even existence isn’t talked about enough.

There’s a countless amount of those players in Oklahoma Football history. Some of them can be considered legends. Be it Derrick Strait, Corey Nelson, Tony Jefferson, Trey Millard, Dimitri Flowers, Jeremiah Hall, Allen Patrick, and many, many more.

I decided to squash all of that, and list my personal top 5 of the most underrated, and undervalued Sooners of all time. Be it nationally or locally, these are the players who in my eyes, don’t get their proper flowers for the things they did on the corner of Lindsey and Jenkins. Consider this the hall of not-talked-about-enough.

5. LB Travis Lewis

To keep it quite simple, “T-Lew” was a true dawg. Lewis is 3rd all-time in tackles in Oklahoma history. He was the nucleus of some of Brent Venables’s defenses prior to his departure to Clemson. Injuries brought his pro career to a halt, but his leadership, scrappiness, and instincts made him one of the best in Norman.

Lewis led the OU defense in tackles for 4 consecutive seasons. He had a knack for finding the ballcarrier, and also showed some skills in coverage. I truly don’t believe Lewis is talked about enough when you mention great OU defenders. He finished his career in Norman as a 2x All-Big 12 first teamer, Freshman All American, and Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. He broke a few of Brian Bosworth’s records as a freshman, including the mark for most freshman season tackles (144) and most tackles by a freshman in a game (19).

4. WR Lee Morris

Reliable. Productive. Quiet.

I promise i’m not biased.

Morris was a man of many nicknames: He became “TD Lee”, and “Mr. First Down”, as well as “The Silent Assassin”, coined by Jalen Hurts. He was most notably Kyler Murray’s good luck charm from the days at Eagle Stadium until college. The former walk-on began his career as a special teams stud, and worked his way to the starting lineup in 2019. He earned a scholarship in 2018, following a breakout game against Florida Atlantic, where he blocked a punt returned for a touchdown, and caught one for 65 yards. Morris finished his career at Oklahoma with 41 catches, 848 yards, and 11 touchdowns. The most astonishing stat: He averaged 20.7 yards a catch. He was one of the most reliable targets to wear the interlocking O-U. Morris’s best season came during Murray’s Heisman campaign, where he notched 457 yards and 8 touchdowns. Better yet: his first career TD was a pass from Murray in 2017 against UTEP, which was also Murray’s first touchdown pass as a Sooner. One of Morris’s best qualities was his talent as a blocker.

Morris’s best game statistically came against Texas Tech, where he put up 101 yards and 2 TDs on only 4 catches. Minus that, Morris shined against Baylor in the big 2019 comeback becoming Jalen Hurts’s security blanket, after some cat named CeeDee Lamb was out with a concussion. He finished that night with 7 catches for 86 yards, averaging a first down a catch.

Morris shined at Pro Day in 2020, but COVID-19 interrupted his draft process. While he’s still waiting on the call from the big leagues (Jerry Jones, wyd?), he is currently with the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL.

3. WR Kenny Stills

I heavily considered Juaquin Iglesias for this spot, but had to give the nod to No. 4.

“What a pair of hands!”

Oklahoma’s recent success with wide receivers probably plays a part in why Kenny Stills doesn’t get enough respect or recognition for his time at Oklahoma. Although he never had a 1,000 season, Stills is still one of the most talented pass-catchers to ever wear the crimson and cream. While also playing in the shadow of Ryan Broyles during his first few years in Norman, he filled the Oklahoma record books, finishing top 10 in every major receiving category. No. 6 all time in receiving yards (2,594), No. 6 in TDs (24), and No. 4 in receptions (204). Stills became WR1 his senior season, and didn’t hold back. He led the team in all receiving stats, and finished that particular 2011 season with 959 yards and 11 TDs. His biggest game that season included a big time performance against West Virginia in 2012 (aka the Tavon Austin game). Stills was another player who also a special ability as a blocker. The best example: Damien Williams’s 95-yard TD against Texas in 2012.

Stills had the skills in all areas including hands, speed, blocking, clutch nature and toughness. He was a 5th round selection by the New Orleans Saints, and went on to have a solid NFL career.

2. DE Cedric Jones

Jones is almost never mentioned when you talk about OU greats. He’s rarely talked about to the point where i guarantee some of you read this and said “who?”

A big reason Jones isn’t mentioned a lot is because his time at Oklahoma took place during the post-Switzer years…aka “the dark ages”.

Jones was simply dominant. He was the cornerstone of Gary Gibbs’s defenses in the 90s. He owns records that still stand today, including still standing as the all time leader in sacks. He’s also tied with Martin Chase for the record for the most sacks in a season by a Sooner, with 14. He’s on the list twice, finishing his senior season with 11 (T-4th in school history). That’s not it though – Jones also owns the record for most sacks in a game, dating back to 1994 with 5 against Texas Tech. He ranks 4th in OU history with 48.5 tackles for loss, 2nd for the most in a season (21), and most in a game (6). Jones finished his illustrious career in Norman as an all-american and a 2 time All-Big 8 member (yes people my age, the Big 12 once had 8 teams).

Although injuries halted Jones’s NFL career, he was the 5th overall pick by the New York Giants in the 1996 NFL draft, and helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl in 2000.

  1. RB Samaje Perine

Somehow, someway, it’s rare that i hear Perine’s name came up when talking about great OU backs. That’s likely due to the fact that Perine wasn’t a flashy player or a trash talker. He just went out and played ball.

Everybody knows PawPaw Perine was good, but i don’t think it’s appreciated HOW good he actually was. The only proof you need is he stands alone as Oklahoma’s all-time leading rusher with 4,122 yards, a record that in this day and age of college football, probably won’t be broken again. That’s more yards than Sims, Owens, Peterson, Washington, Murray, you name it. As i mentioned up top, had our No. 5 guy Brooks returned for the 2022 season, he likely would’ve broken or tied the record, as he was on pace to before deciding to go pro. Perine capped off his freshman season in 2014 with 1,713 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Perine is also the record holder for the most rushing yards in a game by ANY college running back in the history of the game, after an exceptional 427 yard game against Kansas in 2014. He ranks 4th in school history in rushing touchdowns (49), and 6th in all purpose yards.

He was the scariest type of running back: the short, bowling ball runner who is strictly business, who could run through your face all day, and not say a word afterwards. He, alongside Joe Mixon, created one of college football’s best backfield tandems. What makes Perine’s career and rushing record all the more impressive is the fact that he did it in only 3 seasons, before choosing to go pro in 2017. He was chosen by the Commanders in the 5th round, and eventually joined Mixon in Cincinnati with the Bengals. Perine is a pending free agent, and has put together a solid NFL career so far. (Make the call, Jerry)

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