Boomer Sooner: Could Oklahoma Have 2nd Heisman Winner in Row?

rodney anderson

Matthew Jordan

Monday, May 7, 2018 3:18 PM UTC

Monday, May. 7, 2018 3:18 PM UTC

Only three times in NCAA history has a school had back-to-back Heisman winners. Might Oklahoma join that exclusive club this year with either Kyler Murray or Rodney Anderson?

We’ve hit a dead period in the college football offseason as schools have wrapped up their spring practices. So, here at SBR we will start providing Heisman Trophy previews of many of the top contenders or interesting players.

Only three schools have had back-to-back Heisman winners: Yale in 1936-37 (Larry Kelley and Clint Frank), Army in 1945-46 (the legendary running back duo of Doc Blanchard and then Glenn Davis) and Ohio State from 1974-75 (both times Archie Griffin). USC had winners in 2004 & ’05 in quarterback Matt Leinart and then running back Reggie Bush, but officially Bush never won that (I guess) as he vacated the Heisman due to accepting money while in school.

We know for sure that Griffin will remain the only two-time Heisman winner for at least one more year as 2017 winner Baker Mayfield is now a Cleveland Brown as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Could another Oklahoma player follow Mayfield and bring home college football’s most prestigious award? 5Dimes lists two Sooners on the Heisman odds: quarterback Kyler Murray and running back Rodney Anderson.

Murray is a formerly highly-touted recruit who started for a little while in 2015 with Texas A&M but then transferred as he was unhappy with the coaching staff. Murray got into seven games last year in mop-up duty behind Mayfield, completing 18 of 21 for 359 yards and three touchdowns. Pretty good. He also rushed for 142 yards on 13 carries. Murray is expected to be the Week 1 starter on Sept. 1 vs. Florida Atlantic. There’s actually an early line on that one with OU at -22.5. Murray is competing with Austin Kendall, but realistically the only way Murray doesn’t win the job is if he decides to turn pro in baseball. Murray is expected to be a borderline first-round pick in this summer’s MLB amateur draft. If some team throws enough money at him, Murray could opt to leave school.

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Anderson, a junior-to-be, had 1,442 yards from scrimmage and 18 total touchdowns last season despite not reaching more than 50 yards in any game until Oct. 21. Two times he had four touchdowns in a half and torched Georgia for 201 yards and two scores on 26 carries in that thrilling Rose Bowl loss. Those were the most rushing yards that terrific Bulldogs defense gave up to a back all season.

Anderson did lose one of the best blocking fullbacks in the NCAA in Dimitri Flowers, who was All-Big 12. Anderson said he pondered declaring for the 2018 draft himself but wanted to win a national title. He will attempt to become the first OU running back to lead the team in rushing yards in back-to-back seasons since Samaje Perine did in 2014 and ’15. Anderson won’t be a total bell cow because OU has two other experienced backs in Trey Sermon (744 yards in 2017) and Marcelias Sutton (130). They also have a touted true freshman named T.J. Pledger.

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