Former Oklahoma running back Mike Gaddis died on Monday at 50 years old.
Longtime Sooners coach Barry Switzer confirmed the news on Tuesday, calling Gaddis “the best running back I ever recruited out of the state of Oklahoma.”
Gaddis’ cause of death has not been reported. The Norman Transcript reports that Gaddis suffered kidney problems and required a kidney transplant from his brother Brent in 2005.
Current Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley posted a Twitter tribute to Gaddis on Monday.
Sending prayers to the Gaddis family. He inspired a generation to push the boundaries of possibility. pic.twitter.com/sXX2k0WQFy— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) August 12, 2019
Flashes of greatness at Oklahoma
Gaddis flashed the talent that made him one of the top prospects to play at Oklahoma, rushing for 2,622 yards and 27 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry over three injury-plagued seasons from 1988-91.
He missed the 1990 season while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in 1989 against rival Texas.
Rivaled Barry Sanders in ‘Bedlam’ game
Gaddis’ breakout moment came in 1988 when he matched Oklahoma State star and future Hall of Famer Barry Sanders in a 31-28 Oklahoma victory in the famed “Bedlam” rivalry.
Sanders ran for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns that day while Gaddis tallied 213 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Knee injuries appeared to stifle Gaddis’ dreams of playing in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings drafted Gaddis in the sixth round of the 1992 draft, but he never played a down in the NFL.
The Transcript reports that Gaddis lived in Oklahoma City and worked in the insurance business after leaving football.
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