NORMAN The National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame announced Monday morning that Rickey Dixon, one of the best defensive backs in University of Oklahoma history, is among the 13 players in the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class. Dixon was selected from the national ballot of 76 All-America players from the Football Bowl Subdivision, and 100 players from the divisional ranks.
A 1987 consensus All-American, Dixon, who will become OU’s 22nd player and first full-time defensive back in the College Hall of Fame, was the first Sooner to win the Jim Thorpe Award, given to college football’s top defensive back. He earned first-team All-Big Eight honors as a junior and senior in 1986 and ’87, and finished his career with 170 total tackles, 17 interceptions and 303 interception return yards. His 17 career interceptions are one shy of the OU record while his nine picks in 1987 still stand as the school single-season standard. Only Derrick Strait (397 in 2000-03) has more interception return yards in Oklahoma history.
“We are extremely proud to announce the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments. The Class will be part of a momentous year as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of college football this season.”
The 2019 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted during the 62nd NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 10, 2019, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Oklahoma went a combined 42-5-1 (.885) in Dixon’s four years under Hall of Fame head coach Barry Switzer and played in the Orange Bowl each season. The 1985 squad beat Penn State in the Orange Bowl to claim OU’s sixth national championship.
Dixon was the star of the “Game of the Century II” in 1987, with Nebraska rated No. 1 in the country and OU ranked No. 2. The safety from Dallas intercepted two Huskers passes, the second of which came in the fourth quarter to help seal OU’s 17-7 road win and OU’s Orange Bowl berth.
Dixon, who will join OU teammates Brian Bosworth, Tony Casillas and Keith Jackson in the College Football Hall of Fame, was selected No. 5 overall in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played in the league for six seasons with the Bengals and Los Angeles Raiders, and made an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII with Cincinnati against the San Francisco 49ers.
Following his football career, Dixon became a motivational speaker for at-risk youth. He also owned a landscaping business, coached high school football and taught physical education at Red Oak High School in Texas. Dixon was diagnosed with ALS in 2013.
Including the 2019 Hall of Fame class, only 1,010 players and 219 coaches have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame from the nearly 5.33 million who have played or coached the game during the past 150 years. In other words, less than two one-hundredths of a percent (.02%) of the individuals who have played the game have been deemed worthy of this distinction.
Founded in 1947, The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame inducted its first class of inductees in 1951. The first class included 32 players and 22 coaches, including Bennie Owen, who coached the Sooners to 122-54-16 (.677) record from 1905 through 1926.