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OU's Top 10 RB Signees of Rivals Era

Since 2002, Oklahoma has signed 17 running backs of four stars or better, including four five-stars, and two NFL single-season rushing leaders.

This list presents the 10 highest rated players according to Rivals empirical final rankings and is no way of subjective list of talent and/or production.

You'll notice, Samaje Perine fails to make the list, as his No. 153 overall ranking would place him 12th, also behind Alex Ross at No. 144. In this year's class, if Trey Sermon is to hold his same ranking at No. 171, he would tie Rodney Anderson for the 13th spot.

As you might expect, Texas is well-represented with four of the top 10 originating from the Lone Star State. However, OU's national recruiting is represented with six total states: Texas, Oklahoma, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Nevada.

The highs, lows, and everything in between of recruiting is on display with this list that has multiple transfers to Texas A&M, multiple converts to cornerback, and multiple NFL rushing leaders.


10

Breakdown: Brown was often overshadowed during his time in Norman by current Tennessee Titan and all-time Oklahoma touchdown leader DeMarco Murray, however, the Louisiana native had a very productive career of his own. There may have been future NFL stars and a Heisman Trophy winner on OU's prolific 2008 offense, but people often forget that Brown lead that team in rushing. In fact, his 1,220 yards that year on the ground were the 13th most in school history and more than Murray ever rushed for in a single season. While he may not have reached the superstardom of some of his peers, Brown did more than enough to earn his spot on this list.

Chris Brown Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Total TD

2006

70

343

6

2007

158

611

10

2008

217

1,220

21

2009

182

749

8

Total

627

2,923*

45**

*No. 11 all-time at Oklahoma **42 rushing TDs are No. 6 all-time at Oklahoma

9

Breakdown: Finch produced one of the most electric and flat-out fun to watch highlight reels as a running back in Niceville, Florida. His water bug style had many in Norman already comparing Finch to greats like Joe Washington, even before a played a single snap for Oklahoma. Unfortunately, Finch's career seemed to fizzle in the second half of his career at OU, and the former Rivals100 back's usage rate significantly diminished. When on the field, it was hard to deny the electricity Finch brought as a Sooner, though. He averaged over 25 yards per kick return and his 5.39 career yards per carry is only two one-hundredths shy of Adrian Peterson's 5.41. It's hard not to have the feeling that fans were shorted some more Roy Finch highlight reel plays.

Roy Finch Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Receiving Yards Total TD

2010

85

398

49

2

2011

111

605

296

3

2012

7

62

6

2

2013

59

347

291

2

Total

262

1,412

442

9

8

Breakdown: Many may have forgotten Wolfe was a highly recruited running back. They're not alone, after a year spent on campus next to Adrian Peterson, so did the Oklahoma coaches. The Lawton native had his ups and downs as a defensive back, but managed a solid career with seven interceptions and nine tackles for loss.

D.J. Wolfe Career Statistics 
Year Rushes Yards Tackles INT

2004

25

107

0

0

2005

0

0

65

2*

2006

0

0

18

1

2007

0

0

87

4

Total

25

107

170

7

*1 returned for TD

7

Breakdown: The highest ranked member of the "Cali Trio" never quite lived up to the billing or the NFL success of his counterparts, Clay eventually found success as a junior and senior after battling injuries his first few years in Norman. It was never flashy, but Clay could be trusted to fight for every one of the yards his offensive line created for him. The San Diego native also became a quality kick returner for Oklahoma, averaging over 22 yards per return. Perhaps it was fitting for Clay to end his career with 80 yards on 24 touches, while picking up multiple tough and crucial first downs in the final quarter of Oklahoma's 45-31 Sugar Bowl victory over No. 3 Alabama.

Brennan Clay Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Total TD

2010

36

127

0

2011

75

274

1

2012

93

555

7

2013

175

957

6

Total

379

1,913

14

6

Breakdown: Ford was such a physical back coming out of Cypress Ranch that his best highlights were probably him on kickoff coverage leveling some jaw-dropping hits. After a few bright spots as a freshman, the Houston native was primed to take on a more active role in the offense as a sophomore and even tallied 15 carries in the Sooners home win over Tennessee. Yet, fumbling and injury issues never allowed Ford to fully regain the trust of the OU coaches. The arrival of a guy named Samaje Perine and his incredible freshman season was the final nail in the coffin for Ford, who transferred to Texas A&M, where he has been a productive runner in their backfield rotation in 2016.

Keith Ford Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Total TD

2013

23

134

1

2014

71

392

6

2015 (TAMU)

0

0

0

2016 (TAMU)

116

583

5

Total

210

1,109

12

5

Breakdown: Murray may have lost a fifth-star late in the process, but I think Sooner fans will take the 63 career touchdowns and over 5,000 yards from scrimmage as a quality consolation prize. USC head coach Pete Carroll tried to convince the Bishop Gorman star that his future may be at cornerback, and while we'll never know how that road would have gone, it's hard to argue that Oklahoma's all-time touchdown leader made the wrong decision. The story goes, Bob Stoops was at Gorman to recruit five-star linebacker Ryan Reynolds to Oklahoma when he saw a younger Murray make an unbelievably athletic dunk and offered him a scholarship on the spot. The rest, as they say, is history.

DeMarco Murray Career Statistics
Year Rushing Yards Receiving Yards Total TD

2007

764

60

13

2008

1,002

395

18

2009

705

522

12

2010

1,214

594

20

Total

3,685*

1,571

63**

*No. 7 all-time at Oklahoma **No. 1 all-time at Oklahoma

4

Breakdown: History has not been kind to the class of 2008. Calhoun and his five-star running back counterpart, Darrell Scott, never eclipsed 500 rushing yards or even finished their career at the school where they initially signed. For Oklahoma, three five-stars (R.J. Washington, Calhoun, and Stephen Good) and four other Rivals100 signees (Jameel Owens, Josh Jarboe, Stacey McGee, and Joseph Ibiloye) were meant to signify a resurgence of Sooner football, but instead led to 13 losses over four years and just one outright Big 12 title. Calhoun transferred to Angelo State after the 2010 season, where he ultimate found some success on the field his senior season.

Jermie Calhoun Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Total TD

2009

45

220

1

2010

11

22

0

2012 (Angelo St.)

26

191

2

2013 (Angelo St.)

199

930

6

Total

281

1,363

9

3

Breakdown: Despite being raw out of Brookshire Royal, Williams' ferocious speed and potential frame earned him a fifth star in the final rankings update of 2011. However, fumbling issues capped his attempts during his one season at Oklahoma before transferring closer to family at Texas A&M. After two less than stellar seasons at running back in College Station, Kevin Sumlin moved Williams to cornerback for his senior season, where Williams' talents were able to really shine. The Arizona Cardinals selected Williams as a cornerback in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has started two games with five tackles in his rookie season.

Brandon Williams Career Statistics
Year Rushing Yards Total TD Tackles

2011

219

0

0

2013 (TAMU)

269

2

0

2014 (TAMU)

379

3

1

2015 (TAMU)

3

0

37

Total

870

5

38

2

Breakdown: It has been a roller coaster of emotions for Mixon and Sooner fans dating back to his recruitment. While Oklahoma was always in the hunt, many were surprised when the five-star chose the Sooners on national television over a more local favorite, UCLA. That excitement was quickly squelched when Mixon was charged with misdemeanor assault after hitting a female OU student in an altercation the night he celebrated his 18th birthday before the 2014 season. The NorCal product decided to stick out his one-year suspension in Norman and has since put on a display of power, speed, and athleticism that is rarely seen in college football. Outside of one incident where Mixon allegedly ripped up parking tickets, most of his headlines now involve his on the field play that has accounted for over 2,500 yards from scrimmage and 22 total touchdowns in less than two years.

Joe Mixon Career Statistics
Year Rushing Yards Rushing TD Receiving Yards Receiving TD

2015

753

7

356

4

2016

1,084

7

430

4

Total

1,837

14

786

8

1

Breakdown: Not a single second has been wasted by someone wondering if Adrian Peterson was a bust. In his very first year at Oklahoma, the Palestine native set the NCAA freshman rushing record with 1,925 yards, while finishing No. 2 in Heisman voting. Despite a final two seasons hampered by injuries, "All Day" finished as the Sooners No. 3 all-time leading rusher and just 74 yards shy of breaking Billy Sims' record. In the NFL, Peterson has only found more success. As a rookie in Minnesota, he set the single-game rushing record with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers. Peterson would go on to finish second in the NFL to LaDainian Tomlinson with 1,341 rushing yards and was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. It was also the first of seven All-Pro seasons, one of which made him just the sixth person in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards when he finished just nine yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record in his MVP 2012 season. The 31-year-old is only 2,377 yards from moving into the top four of the NFL's all-time leading rushers and says he plans to play at a high-level until he is 40, with hopes of breaking Emmitt Smith's career rushing record.

Adrian Peterson Career Statistics
Year Rushes Yards Total TD

2004

339

1,925

15

2005

221

1,104

14

2006

188

1,012

13

Total

748

4,041*

42

*No. 3 all-time at Oklahoma