Oklahoma Football: Is Landry Jones Worthy of School's All-Time Top 25 Status?
"What kind of a question is this, Alex? Landry Jones leads the Sooners in passing, for like, all time!"
Yes, I'm very aware. That alone should be enough to crack the Top 25, right?
For those who have been living under a rock for the last century, you've certainly missed a storied program in the Oklahoma Sooners. There have been so many great players come through Norman, it's hard to rank the Top 25 of all time, let alone decide who they are to begin with.
I wrote an article in February (which seems like an eternity ago) declaring the "Top 10 Sooners" with the best NFL careers in the program's history. Just for this article's sake, let me review the 10, going in descending order: Curtis Lofton, Jammal Brown, Joe Washington, Billy Sims, Roy Williams, Keith Jackson, Tommy McDonald, Greg Pruitt, Adrian Peterson and Lee Roy Selmon.
I think it's safe to say that all of these guys have a better-than-great chance of making the Top 25. Now, just for the sake of this article, let's review yet another article I wrote, this time in April: "Top 10 Quarterbacks in Oklahoma History."
Once again, in descending order: Paul Thompson, Nate Hybl, Cale Gundy, J.C. Watts, Steve Davis, Jamelle Holieway, Landry Jones, Josh Heupel, Jason White and Sam Bradford.
Now, not all of these guys are going to be on the Sooners' Top 25 list. There's no way Thompson or Hybl make the cut—likely the same with Gundy and Watts. Davis and Holieway are even borderline, but Heupel, White and Bradford seem like no-brainers.
What does that mean? We now have a list of 13 with Landry Jones lingering around, awaiting his appointment. I know what you're thinking, and yes, I'm aware we have 12 spots to work with—why isn't Jones worth one of them?
Let's take a look at a few more no-brainers, first.
Billy Vessels, Tony Casillas, Brian Bosworth, Jerry Tubbs, Kurt Burris, Rod Shoate, Rocky Calmus, Derrick Strait, Tommie Harris and Dewey Selmon.
There's 10 more guys not named Landry Jones, all of which have either earned All-American honors, been nominated for a Heisman Trophy (or won, in Vessels' case), have won a national championship or have won awards at the end of the season due to their excellent play on the field.
That leaves just two spots with names like Ryan Broyles, Travis Lewis, Greg Roberts, Granville Liggins, Zac Henderson, Daryl Hunt, Teddy Lehman and Gerald McCoy still not on the list. Did I mention this was a storied program?
There's no doubt that Jones is well deserving of a Top 50 spot on the list, but Top 25 is just too tough. As of now, Jones hasn't done enough to earn that honor.
I'll concede that being Oklahoma's top passer (in terms of yards) is impressive, but that's largely due to the change in the Sooners' offensive scheme over the last decade.
Jones has yet to be named to an All-American squad or win a national championship. However, he did win the Sammy Baugh award in 2010, which represents the nation's top passer. In his sophomore season, Jones finished with 4,718 passing yards, 38 touchdowns (only 12 interceptions) with a passer rating of 146.3—all career highs.
Also, Jones has never lost a bowl game. As a freshman, Jones was thrown into the spotlight after Bradford's season-ending injury and led the Sooners to a Sun Bowl victory over Stanford. He led the Sooners to an impressive 48-20 victory over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl as a sophomore and, despite falling all the way to the Insight Bowl last season, he still managed to come away with a victory over Iowa.
Granted, winning the Sun Bowl and Insight Bowl aren't nearly as impressive as winning two more BCS bowls or a national championship, but Jones is still one of few quarterbacks who can say that he is undefeated in postseason play.
The book has not yet been written on Jones' career as a Sooner, though. He still has the 2012 season to prove his worth—to solidify a spot in the Sooners' all-time Top 25.
However, he's going to have to do something drastic to pull it off—whether that's win a Heisman or a national championship—because, as of now, Jones is just a Top 50 player.
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