Jamelle Holieway

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Jamelle Holieway
College Oklahoma
Conference Big Eight
Sport Football
Position Quarterback
Jersey # 4
Career 1985–1988
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight 186 lb (84 kg)
Nationality USA
Born (1967-06-25) June 25, 1967 (age 50)
Carson, California
High school Banning High School,
Wilmington, California
  • Big Eight Offensive Newcomer of the Year (1985) (Oklahoma)
  • Big Eight First Team All-Conference QB (1985)
  • Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year (1986)
  • Big Eight First Team All-Conference QB (1986)
1985 National championship
Bowl games
1986 Orange Bowl

Jamelle Holieway (born June 25, 1967) is a former American college and professional football player who was an award winning quarterback for the University of Oklahoma. He led the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship in 1985.


Jamelle Holieway is considered one of the greatest option quarterbacks in NCAA Division I-A history. Highly recruited from Banning High School under longtime head coach Chris Ferragamo, Holieway attracted interest from a swarm of schools. Oklahoma, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Colorado, Oregon and USC came after Holieway. His decision to play for the Sooners came at the last minute, as he had a three-year-old sister that he didn't want to leave behind. At a nearby mall in Carson, a recruiter from the University of Oregon was standing by hoping Holieway had decided not to go to Oklahoma. He had planned to join the Ducks, who got a commitment from his high school teammate Brett Young.

At Oklahoma, he took over for an injured Troy Aikman in his freshman year and led the Sooners to an 11-1-0 record under Coach Barry Switzer and the 1986 Orange Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions for the national championship. Holieway threw a 71-yard touchdown pass in that game to All-American tight end Keith Jackson. Holieway remains the only true freshman quarterback to lead his team to the national title.

Holieway tore the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his left knee in a game versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys on November 7, 1987. Holieway was running an option-play to the left and turned to cut upfield. His left knee got caught in the Astroturf on Owen Field. He underwent reconstructive knee surgery shortly after the injury, and rehabilitated in the offseason. Though he came back to play the following season, he saw limited action and reinjured the leg on October 8, 1988 versus the Texas Longhorns. The injury plagued Holieway for the remainder of the '88 season, and he eventually lost his starting job to Charles Thompson. Thompson, however, broke his leg on the final play of the Nebraska game on November 19, 1988, so Holieway became the starter again for the Citrus Bowl vs. Clemson, in a 13-6 loss on January 2, 1989.

Holieway still lives in Oklahoma and spends much of his summers coaching football skills to children with his Jamelle Holieway and Friends Football Camps that are conducted throughout Oklahoma each summer.

Holieway finished his Sooner career with 2,713 yards rushing on 539 attempts (an average of 5.0 yards per carry) and 32 touchdowns. Through the air, he threw 257 times, completing 117 passes for 2,430 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. His passing efficiency rating was 141.5 over 39 collegiate games.[1] Holieway acknowledged that he received favors from school boosters and Coach Switzer, but denied ever receiving any cash payments.[2]

Jamelle Holieway played professionally for the National Football League's Los Angeles Raiders (1989–1990) and the Canadian Football League's British Columbia Lions (1991–1992).


Holieway's stats for the Oklahoma Sooners
Passing Rushing
1985 27 64 42.1 608 6 2 173 862 5.0 9
1986 32 66 48.5 588 4 6 146 807 5.5 10
1987 21 62 33.9 548 7 4 142 860 6.1 10
1988 37 65 56.9 686 6 3 78 184 2.4 3
Totals 117 257 45.5 2,430 23 15 539 2,713 5.0 32



  1. ^ "Jamelle Holieway Career Stats". Soonerstats.com. 2000. Archived from the original on 2006-12-17. Retrieved 2006-01-01. 
  2. ^ Almond, Elliott (December 8, 1989). "Holieway Says He Got Booster Favors". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. 
  3. ^ "TOTALFOOTBALLSTATS.COM - Oklahoma Sooners". TotalFootballStats.com. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 

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