JD Roberts, Outland Award winner Dies at 88
Former Oklahoma University All-American football star John David (JD) Roberts died this week and his place in Sooner history must never be overlooked. Roberts was 88. He was enshrined in the College Football-Hall-of Fame in 1993. Roberts accomplishments as a member of the OU football team is as significant as any that played in Norman on Owen Field.
Oklahoma, in 1953, Roberts featured year, was the beginning of the “47” straight win streak, as the Sooners lost the first game of the season, a home opener, to Notre Dam e 29-21. The next loss was many moons later, again to the Irish, also in Norman, 7-0, in the ’57 season. OU, tied the Pittsburgh Panthers a week later (after the Irish defeat) on the road, but the following week, in the Cotton Bowl, the Sooners nipped the Texas Longhorns, 19-14, which began the historic 47 without a loss. In that timespan from September 26, 1953, the OU loss to the Irish, to November 10, 1957, a dark day, again against the Sooner slayers, the Big Red of the South not only remained undefeated and one tie, they posted back-to-back National Titles, in 1955 and 1956. Roberts was the first great lineman of Coach Bud Wilkinson’s dominate teams in the middle fifties, as he was the cornerstone of the offensive and defensive lines in ’53. Recognized as the best lineman in ’53, Roberts was awarded the Outland Trophy (best lineman) as well as a consensus All-American that year.
Roberts went on to a coaching career that ended as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 1970 to 1973. His limited success in the NFL led him to the oil and gas business where he was successful until his passing this week.
Feature photo: FILE – In this Nov. 30, 1955 file photo, J.D. Roberts, University of Oklahoma’s senior guard, talks over with OU line coach Gomer Jones about his being named winner of the John B. Outland trophy as the outstanding lineman of the year, in Norman, Okla J. D. Roberts, the second coach the New Orleans Saints and man who made Archie Manning his quarterback, has died, Monday, May 24, 2021. He was 88. (AP Photo)