Billy Vessels

Vessels won the Heisman Trophy as the top American college player and a first round draft pick of the Baltimore Colts on the 1953 draft,  but signed with the Edmonton Eskimos. Vessels played one season with Edmonton in 1953, leading the West in rushing witgh an excellent 7.1 yards per carry. As was the norm back then, players tended to lay both ways and Vessels also recoreded 4 interceptions playing defensive back.  Vessels also was used on kick returns and finished third in the West in kickoff return yardage despite only returning 9 kicks as he had a 38.5 yard average. For all that, Vessels was named the Outstanding Player in Canadian football, the first year for the award. Vessels played one game with the Kitchener Waterloo Dutchmen of the ORFU who were acting as a farm team for Edmonton in 1954 - this was to try and qualify Vessels as a non-import under the rules atg that time. Vessels never returned to Edmonton as the U.S. army got in the way.  After serving for two years, Vessels returned to football, but with the Baltimore Colts who had originally drafted him.  Vessels played only only one in 1956 and retired, saying football was no longer fun. Following his retirement, Vessels moved to Florida and became involved in the Real Estate business. In 1974, Vessels was elected the U.S. College Football Hall of Fame. Billy Vessels passed away on November 17, 2001.

Billy Vessels, a Legend at Oklahoma

NFL Stats for Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels on

Billy Vessels in Wikipedia

Billy Vessels in the Oklahoma Historical Society

Sooners Ace Wins Awaqrds - December 9, 1952

Billy Vessels Headed For Pro Career - February 14, 1953

Billy Vessels Eying Eskies - January 29, 1953

Billy Vessels Sought by Baltimore - January 20, 1954

Vessels Played One Game With Kitchener-Waterloo - November 19, 1954

Vessels Featured in Bowl Game - December 20, 1954

Vessels is a Rookie Again - May 29, 1956

Colts Try to Stop Vessels Quiting - March 7, 1957

Vessels May Play Pro Football Again - December 22, 1957

Vessels Elected to College Football Hall of Fame

Year Team GP PA PC % Yds TD Int Sacked Yds TC Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg Long TD Long PTS
1953 EDM 16
30 18 60 393 4 1

129 926 7.1 9 20 310 15.5
1954 KWD 1                                      

Note: Touchdowns were worth 5 points in 1953.


KO and PuntReturns
Year Team KOR Yds Avg TD Long PR Yds Avg TD Long
1953 EDM 9 347 38.5

3 14 4.7

1954 KWD                    


Year Team Int Yds Avg TDInt Long
1953 EDM 4 0 0 0 0
1954 KWD          



Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels

Billy Vessels