All-American: Billy Vessels

Rufus Alexander

Billy Vessels, HB - 1952
Billy Vessels was one of the greatest running backs in OU history. The 1952 consensus All-American was the first Sooner to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy. During that season, he finished second nationally in rushing with 1,072 yards. The two-time all-conference selection also finished second in scoring with 108 points.

He set Sooner records for most rushing yards, scoring and most all-purpose yards (1,472) in a season. In 1952, he was named AP and UPI Back of the Year and UPI Player of the Year. His outstanding play during the 1950 season, in which he led OU in both rushing and receiving, was one of the key factors in Oklahoma’s first national title.

He was the first player taken in the 1953 draft by the Baltimore Colts. In 1974, he was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

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