Two former Oklahoma players are once again on the ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Josh Heupel and Roy Williams, who helped Bob Stoops change the Sooners’ fortune at the turn of the century, are back on the ballot after debuting last year but falling short of the vote to get in.
Stoops also was nominated last year and was voted into the Hall, where he’ll be enshrined during a ceremony in Las Vegas this December.
Heupel, who came to OU from Snow Junior College after playing high school football for his dad in Aberdeen, SD, is widely regarded as the most important Sooner player who helped turn things around in Norman.
Mike Leach’s first recruit, Heupel famously took his official visit and did nothing but watch game film with Leach the whole trip.
Heupel was a First Team All-American and Walter Camp Player of the Year and finished runner-up to Florida State’s Chris Weinke for the 2000 Heisman. In their Orange Bowl matchup for the national championship, however, Heupel got the better of Weinke as the Sooners won 13-2.
In two seasons — one under Leach, the other under Mark Mangino — the left-handed Heupel smashed every passing record in OU history, throwing for 3,460 yards and 30 touchdowns in 1999, and 3,606 yards in 2000, when he was named AP Player of the Year.
If Heupel was No. 1 in the Sooners’ return to glory, Williams was No. 1-A.
Injured as a freshman in 1998, Williams told SI Sooners that he considered leaving when John Blake was fired, but attended Stoops’ introductory press conference and helped lead a group of others on the fence who were impressed enough to stay.
Williams was a unanimous First Team All-American in 2001 who won both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player and the Jim Thorpe Awards as the nation’s top defensive back. He was also named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Williams, who played the safety position with such unique fervor and efficiency that the coaching staff renamed it “Roy Back” and often just let him do his thing, was the leader of a defensive resurgence that wo the national championship in 2000 and ranked fourth in the nation in total defense and scoring defense in 2001.