Whatever happened to Jamelle Holieway?
71-yard pass play by Holieway vs. the Cornhuskers
Other random links on Jamelle Holieway
One of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time
Growing up in the heart of Sooner country, I remember idolizing a few football players: Tony Dorsett and Roger Staubach of the Dallas Cowboys, and Jamelle Holieway, who quarterbacked the University of Oklahoma to the National Championship at the Orange Bowl in 1986 (according to Wikipedia, the only true freshman to have ever done so -- he still holds this distinction) and to another Orange Bowl win in 1987 (though it was not the championship game that year). To get some idea of Holieway's talent: he had taken over in his freshman season for the injured sophomore starter Troy Aikman, who eventually figured he would never be able to get his starting job back vs. Holieway, and transferred to UCLA (eventually having a Hall of Fame career as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, winning the Super Bowl three times including once as the MVP).
Holieway was a unique quarterback in his ability to run or throw the ball with equal ease, as his career stats show. In 39 games, he had 2,713 yards rushing and 2,430 yards passing for a combined 5,143 yards of total offense -- averaging over 131 yards/game. He was the first quarterback I'm aware of in the Michael Vick style, where his pure athleticism and the threat that the quarterback would suddenly turn into a running back completely changed the game for the defense. In looking at the history, it appears he paid the price for this scrambling ability -- a couple of leg injuries in his junior and senior seasons hampered the tail end of his college career, and possibly factored into limited success in the pros, with the Oakland Raiders from 1989-1990, and the CFL's BC Lions from 1991-1992.
Finding info on his life after the Sooners is difficult; many sources mispell his name "Holloway" instead of "Holieway," and there is just not a lot info on the internet from those pre-www days. However, it looks like he has worked as a sales rep for an insurance company in Oklahoma -- and unfortunately has been arrested multiple times: in Eufaula, OK in 2007 on marijuana possession, (and possibly DUI since he was apparently driving and smoking at the time), November 2008 in Pontotoc County, OK for driving on a suspended license, and in 2009 in McAlester, OK for petty larceny and outstanding fines and warrants.
The transgressions of the Sooner program at large under Barry Switzer were exposed in a February 1989 article in Sports Illustrated, but it doesn't mention Holieway specifically, who had played his last game by this point (the Citrus Bowl on January 2nd, 1989) -- it focuses much more on his successor, Charles Thompson, who had just been arrested and was eventually convicted for selling cocaine.
Regardless of how his life has gone in the days since his Sooner glory, Jamelle Holieway should always be remembered as one of the greatest college quarterbacks of all time.