Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II creates tougher Heisman climb after arrest on suspicion of DUI charge

The weekend arrest of Oklahoma State star running back Ollie Gordon II for suspicion of driving under the influence casts an early shadow over his potentially promising Heisman Trophy campaign ahead of the 2024 season.

Pending the final outcome of the charges and severity of the punishment Gordon might face, both legally and from Oklahoma State, the incident could impact his standing with Heisman voters a season after his breakout 2023 campaign that saw Gordon finish as the leading rusher in college football with 285 carries for 1,732 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground. He received numerous postseason honors, including the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in college football, as well as Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and unanimous All-American.

Gordon finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting and enters the 2024 season with some of the best odds among non-quarterbacks to win the prestigious award.

Gordon, who is under the age of 21, was pulled over Sunday morning on Interstate 35, south of Oklahoma City, by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The trooper said Gordon was driving 82 mph in a 65 mph zone and was also swerving in traffic.

The trooper said he “detected an odor associated with an alcoholic beverage,” and Gordon denied consuming alcohol but admitted he had been around friends who were drinking. According to the arrest report, Gordon refused to participate in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The trooper then asked if Gordon had been drinking, to which Gordon “admitted to consuming one alcoholic beverage.”

The arrest report stated that Gordon confirmed he had two bottles of hard liquor in his car. Gordon was placed under arrest at 2:50 a.m. for DUI under 21 years of age, transporting open containers, failure to maintain his lane, and driving over the speed limit. At Cleveland County Jail, Gordon’s breath samples registered .11 BrAC and .10 BrAC. The legal limit is .08.

An Oklahoma State spokesperson told 247Sports that the University was aware of the situation, though it provided no further comment.

It is not known whether Gordon will face a suspension for his arrest, but even a slow start last season had little effect on his final numbers. Gordon averaged just 36.3 rushing yards per game in the first three contests of the 2023 campaign. In the final 11 games, which included the Big 12 Championship Game and the Texas Bowl, Gordon averaged 147.5 rushing yards per contest. What changed? Oklahoma State, after a slow start itself, retooled its offense and whittled down its gameplan to a straightforward approach of feeding its star-to-be.

Although this incident does not end the Heisman Trophy campaign for Gordon, it does put a damper on the budding hype surrounding the Oklahoma State star — just last week, CBS Sports deemed Gordon college football’s “most undervalued player.” It is worth mentioning former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting and fleeing arrest nine months prior to winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017.

As of Tuesday morning, Gordon is listed at +10000 to win the Heisman, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which is tied for 27th nationally and third-best among non-quarterbacks.

Only three running backs — Reggie Bush, Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry — have won the Heisman since 2000 and two of those played at Alabama (Ingram and Henry).

Ollie Gordon II is looking to become the fourth RB to win the Heisman Trophy since 2020. USATSI

In a 2020 study, 247Sports’ Chris Hummer decided a running back must check off five criteria to actually win the Heisman Trophy:

1. Play for a Winning Team

2. The RB Must Overshadow His QB

3. Contending QBs Can’t Be Spectacular

4. The RB Must Capture the College Football Consciousness

5. The Running Back Needs Serious Workhorse Production and Volume

Gordon, off the bat, has points Nos. 2 and 3 in his favor — he is the true star of Oklahoma State’s team, while the national collection of quarterbacks is widely considered to have dipped from a year ago. Point No. 5 is also in his favor: All three Heisman running backs since 2000 rushed for at least 1,500 yards, which Gordon has proven to be able to do even if he is suspended for a game. As yards and stats inflate, Hummer pointed out in 2020 that 300 carries and 1,800 yards is more of an expected base than 1,500. Again, these are likely hurdles Gordon can eclipse if last year is any indication — given he did not have more than 10 carries in a game until Week 4.

Point No. 1 is impossible to answer now, but Oklahoma State is getting trendy Big 12 buzz despite currently just the seventh-best odds to win the league. Should Oklahoma State win the Big 12 in early December, it will of course clinch a College Football Playoff berth, which would be a very appealing narrative for voters.

Point No. 4 — that said running back must be the toast of college football — is where Gordon’s Heisman campaign could be in peril given his weekend arrest for DUI, should some voters prove to have long memories. Again, Mayfield was arrested for a less severe charge, public intoxication, and won the Heisman the following fall, but he was a quarterback who played for a winning, CFP-bound team and put up historic numbers. Gordon already faced an uphill battle in his quest to become the first Oklahoma State player to win the Heisman since Barry Sanders in 1988 and he’s made things steeper for himself.

GoPokes247’s McClain Baxley contributed to this report.

MORE: Projecting Big 12 football 2024 Offensive, Defensive Player of Year candidates

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