By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The fall semester came to a close this week and Oklahoma celebrated with its annual dinner and awards ceremony Friday.
OU coach Bob Stoops recognized 21 seniors for their accomplishments and contributions. This year’s senior class registered a 40-12 overall record with two Big 12 championships. This contingent of seniors produced a 21-3 home mark and a 25-9 conference record, including three straight victories against Texas.
Headlining the individual award winners were defensive lineman David King and quarterback Landry Jones.
King was recognized as the recipient of the Don Key Award, while Jones was presented with the Bob Kalsu Award. King, a Houston native, earned academic all-Big 12 first-team accolades and was also an all-Big 12 second-team pick. Jones owns the most victories (39) of any quarterback in OU history, and is also the Big 12’s all-time leader in passing yards (16,368) and total offense (16,000 yards).
The Don Key Award has been presented annually since 1982 to a senior who exemplifies all-around excellence in the classroom and on the field. Key was a three-year starter for the Sooners, an All-Big 8 guard and potential All-American until cancer surgery ended his football career in 1981. Former coach Barry Switzer established the award the following year.
The Kalsu Award is bestowed annually to a member of the team who personifies Kalsu’s spirit of leadership, serving as a motivator and role model for his teammates.
Kalsu earned All-America honors in 1967 as an offensive tackle while helping the Sooners to a Big 8 Championship. Serving as a member of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, Kalsu was killed by North Vietnamese mortar fire on July 21, 1970.
Fullback Aaron Ripkowski was selected as the recipient of the Derrick Shepard Most Inspirational Walk-On Award. Ripkowski, a sophomore from Dayton, Texas, served as an integral part of the club’s special teams and also served on short-yardage and goal-line formations.
Shepard joined the OU roster as a walk-on in 1983 before earning a prominent role as a wide receiver and return man on the Sooners’ 1985 National Championship team. Shepard passed away at the age of 35 in 1999 after suffering a heart attack.
Here’s a complete of the individual award winners:
· Bob Kalsu Award: Landry Jones
· Don Key Award: David King
· Derrick Shepard Most Inspirational Walk-On Player of the Year Award: Aaron Ripkowski
· Special Teams Players of the Year: Jaydan Bird, Justin Brown, Brennan Clay, Roy Finch, Michael Hunnicutt, Trey Millard, Jalen Saunders, Tress Way
· Scout Team Players of the Year: Offense — Trevor Knight, Derrick Woods; Defense — David Driskill, Caleb Gastelum
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