Top 10 players of Herman/Riley era

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ty Russell/OU Athletics

Kyler Murray

It was a difficult distinction between Murray and Baker Mayfield for the No. 1 spot. Both were Heisman winners, both were Big 12 Champs, both were No. 1 overall picks. But as fun as Mayfield was to watch, Murray had a special ability running the football and extending plays that few in college football history have ever possessed. 

Baker Mayfield

The forever-antagonist Mayfield was as exciting with the ball in his hands as he was after the play. His 4,938 total yards as a senior was the most by an Oklahoma quarterback, until Murray rolled around a year later. In head coach Lincoln Riley’s first year, Mayfield was the spark plug for the second playoff appearance in three years for the Sooners.

Sam Ehlinger

Ehlinger will get his fourth crack at the Sooners this season, and it’ll be an important one for both his and head coach Tom Herman’s legacies. In three years at Texas, the junior quarterback has evolved from a frenetic gunslinger into everything the Longhorns need at quarterback. He gets the edge over Jalen Hurts by way of longevity.

Jalen Hurts

You’ve probably heard by now —  Hurts is pretty dang good. In fact, he may end up being the most prolific of the three Sooner quarterbacks. Through four games, Hurts has 400 more yards and four more touchdowns than either Mayfield or Murray had at this point. As long as college football is still being played, Riley will still be turning out Heisman-quality quarterbacks.

Marquise Brown

Hollywood seemed to live up to his name when playing at the Cotton Bowl, putting on a show with nine catches for 132 yards and two touchdowns. As an undersized receiver at 5-foot-9, he made up for his lack in stature with his explosiveness. Always a threat to break the big play, he averaged 18.3 yards per reception in his two seasons in the Crimson and Cream.

Collin Johnson

Johnson’s production this season has dipped, but it appears it’s not his own doing. As the perfect mold for a possession receiver, the senior has earned the respect — and double coverage — of opponents in his four years at Texas. But he’s still a go-to target in crunch time for Ehlinger, using his 6-foot-6 frame and outstanding ball skills to beat defenders.

Connor Williams

I’ve got to give the big guys some love. Williams is the best offensive lineman Herman has had in his tenure, and he anchored that group in Herman’s first year in Austin. Williams helped protect a freshman Ehlinger at left tackle, and was a key piece in the turnaround as the Longhorns tried to reenter the national conversation.

CeeDee Lamb

Lamb played the Robin to Brown’s Batman over the last two years, and similarly to Johnson, has had a slow start in 2019. But his sheer talent is clear. In last year’s Big 12 Championship game, Lamb racked up 167 receiving yards and a score against the Longhorns. He’s just another in the pedigree of elite talent in that position at Oklahoma.

Lil’Jordan Humphrey

Aside from being on the all-time “all-name” team, Humphrey was as talented as they come in his three years in Austin. His ability to break tackles in the open field and high point passes over defenders made him a favorite target for Ehlinger in the two years prior to this one, and he’s turned that production into the start of an NFL career. 

Kenneth Murray

It’s oftentimes tough to point out defensive greatness in a Big 12 rivalry. Kenneth is one of the few players to buck that stereotype. The junior finished second in the country with 155 total tackles a year ago and, somehow, looks even better to start this season. He’s anchored an Oklahoma defense that so far, looks vastly improved from years past.