Over the past two years the last two winners of the Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award given to the best player in all of college football, has been a quarterback from the University of Oklahoma.
The 2017 recipient was Baker Mayfield, who threw for 4,627 yards and 46 touchdowns to just six interceptions and went No.1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the 2018 draft. This past year’s recipient was the quarterback that succeeded Mayfield was the electrifying Kyler Murray.
The dual-threat and dual-sport athlete, who is now solely committed to football threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground as well. Now Murray is expected to be drafted in the first round of this year’s draft and could go as high as No.1 overall if the Cardinals decide to take him and trade away their first-round quarterback from last year in Josh Rosen.
These two Sooners flourished under Head Coach Lincoln Riley, who is widely viewed as one of the brightest offensive minds in not just college football, but across the whole landscape at every level. He is especially renown for his work with his quarterbacks, as he has built quite the reputation as a quarterback “whisperer” or “guru” after coaching back to back Heisman trophy winners.
Riley began his tenure at Oklahoma as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach before being elevated to Head Coach prior to the 2017 season. In his two seasons at the helm of the Sooners he has a record of 24-4 and has advanced to the college football playoffs in each season.
With the influx and adoption of college concepts into nearly every NFL offense across the league as a way to simplify game plans and lessen the steep learning curve that many rookies will face when they first get into the league by installing many of the offensive philosophies that they are familiar with.
Since he has been the orchestrator and play caller for one of the most prolific offenses in all of college football over the past two years, he was being linked to many of the head coaching vacancies that became available in the NFL at the end of last season.
Riley chose not to interview or entertain any requests to leave Oklahoma for the pros this offseason, but if he has another successful year and has his new transfer quarterback from the University of Alabama Jalen Hurts looking like a Heisman contender then the NFL will come calling again next offseason.
Now that many teams are trying to replicate the success of the Los Angeles Rams and find the next Sean McVay, Riley who is just 35 years old, fits the mold of the league’s newest trend in hiring young offensive minded coaches to lead their franchises into the future. We’ll all have to wait until next year to see if it will finally be the year that the right team can lure Lincoln into the NFL.