All-American: Jack Mitchell
Jack Mitchell, QB - 1948
Jack Mitchell became OU's first quarterback to earn All-America honors in 1948. What he may be remembered for more is his association with the beginning of the option.
During the 1948 OU-Texas game, every time Mitchell carried the ball he was supposed to keep it. After being tackled several times, he decided to pitch it to the halfback instead of being hit. Bud Wilkinson, the Sooners' head coach who had been the backfield coach before his promotion, immediately realized how effective this play could be.
Originally making the team as a halfback, Mitchell ran Wilkinson's Split-T offense to perfection. Mitchell was a two-time all-conference selection and still holds the Division I-A record for punt returns: highest average gain per return for a career (min. 1.2 per game) at 23.6 yards from 1946-48 (39 for 922).
Mitchell capped off his career at OU by being named MVP of the Sooners' 14-6 win over North Carolina in the 1949 Sugar Bowl.