Mayfield’s Heisman leads parade of football achievements

Number 6 become “number six” for Oklahoma Saturday night in New York City.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (who wears No. 6 on his jersey) became the sixth Sooner football player to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Billy Vessels (1952), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008) as Heisman winners.

Only Notre Dame and Ohio State, with seven winners each, have more Heisman winners than OU.

Mayfield graciously accepted the award at a ceremony at New York’s PlayStation Theater that also featured finalists Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Bryce Love of Stanford.

“First and foremost, God’s put me in a position to be able to do this, and I feel very blessed and thankful to be able to play the game I love so much,” Mayfield said in his acceptance speech. “My parents and family have made so many sacrifices to help me get here and to help me live out my dreams.

“My teammates are incredible. Our offensive line, I still think, is the best in the country. There’s a reason I’m able to have good numbers and we’re able to win ball games, and that starts with them. My playmakers around me are amazing and provide a strong support system. People didn’t respect those guys at the beginning of the year, but everyone has seen how good they are and how much they’ve helped me.”

Mayfield got 732 first-place votes and 2,398 points, and was followed by Love (1,300 points, 75 first-place votes) and Jackson, last year’s Heisman winner (793 points and 47 first place votes).

Mayfield is unique in several ways.

In 1950, the NCAA created athletic scholarships and Mayfield is the first Heisman winner to start his career as a walk-on without a scholarship. Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech and started as a true freshman. For several reasons, he left the Red Raiders and then walked on at Oklahoma.

After sitting out a year on the scout team, Mayfield beat out starting quarterback Trevor Knight and has led OU to three straight Big 12 Championships and a ticket to the College Football Playoffs two out of the last three years.

When Mayfield became eligible in 2015, former OU coach Bob Stoops hired Lincoln Riley as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. After two years,

“I thank all of my coaches at OU, but especially Coach (Lincoln) Riley,” Mayfield said. “He’s always believed in me and has always been there for me. I appreciate him being a mentor on and off the field. I owe a special thank-you to Coach (Bob) Stoops, as well. He gave me a chance to walk on, and he brought someone on staff who’s changed my life in Coach Riley. Coach Stoops has been a huge factor in my success, and was a big reason why I was a Sooners fan as a kid. To be able to play for a living legend like that was special.”

No. 2 OU will play No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl semifinal on January 1. The winner will play the winner of the Sugar Bowl semifinal between No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Alabama. The finals are January 8 in Atlanta.

Mayfield is the first player since Doc Blanchard to transfer directly from one NCAA school to another and then go on to win the Heisman. Blanchard played fullback for the North Carolina freshman team in 1942 and then transferred to Army in 1944 after spending 1943 in the service. He won the Heisman in 1945.

Mayfield becomes just the fifth player and first since Georgia’s Herschel Walker (1980-82) to finish in the top four of Heisman Trophy balloting three times. The other three to do it were Glenn Davis (Army; 1944-46), Doc Blanchard (also Army; 1944-46) and Doak Walker (SMU; 1947-49). Mayfield finished third in voting last year and fourth in 2015.

Mayfield’s career passing efficiency mark of 176.0 would break the FBS record held by Bradford (175.6).

Mayfield gave credit to his teammates and the football staff at OU.

Mayfield also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year award, the Maxwell Award (for the top player of the year) and the Davey O’Brien Award (for the top quarterback).

Mayfield, OU tight end Mark Andrews, junior offensive lineman Orlando Brown and senior linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo were all named first-team All-Americans by the Walter Camp Foundation.

Mayfield is the third Sooner to win the Maxwell Award, joining Jason White (2004) and Tommy McDonald (1956), and the fifth Sooner to be named Walter Camp Player of the Year, along with Josh Heupel (2000), Billy Sims (1978), Steve Owens (1969) and Jerry Tubbs (1956).

The O’Brien Award was initially given to the top player in the Southwest before going to a quarterback-only honor in 1981. As a result, Mayfield is the fourth Sooner to take home the award, joining Bradford (2008), White (2003, ’04) and Sims (1978).

A native of Houston, Texas, Okoronkwo ranks third in the Big 12 and is tied for 25th nationally with 8.0 sacks (0.6 per game), ranks second in the Big 12 and tied for 17th nationally with three forced fumbles, and ranks third in the league and 12th nationally with 17.5 tackles for loss (1.4 per game).

Mayfield was named AP Player of the Year.

Mayfield became the fourth Sooner to win the award, which was first issued in 1998. Others to do it were quarterbacks Josh Heupel in 2000, Jason White in 2003 and Sam Bradford in 2008.

Mayfield leads the nation in completion percentage (.710), passing efficiency rating (203.8; would break his own FBS record of 196.4 set last year), yards per pass attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (41), third in total offense (357.7 ypg) and fourth in passing yards (333.8 per game).

The Austin, Texas, native has completed 262-of-369 passes this year for a career-high 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions. He has also rushed for 310 yards and another five scores with no fumbles lost.

“The guys I’ve been playing with and the coaches I’ve had, especially Coach (Lincoln) Riley, we’ve had success but this year’s been a special one,” added Mayfield.

“I think that’s because of how close we are and how we all play for each other. I wouldn’t be here without those guys and I’m happy I get to enjoy this trip with two of my teammates, even though I think all of them deserve to be here with us. I’m thankful and blessed to be on the same team with those guys.”

Mayfield has thrown a TD pass in a Big 12-record 39 consecutive games (every contest of his OU career), which is the third-longest streak in FBS history. He’s also thrown at least two TD passes in a Big 12-record 26 straight contests (81 TDs to 13 interceptions during the stretch), which is tied with Boise State’s Kellen Moore for what is believed to be the longest streak in FBS history.

OU’s Andrews win the Mackey Award

Andrews was named as OU’s first ever winner of the Mackey Award, given annually to the nation’s top tight end.

Andrews was one of three finalists for the honor, along with Wisconsin’s Troy Fumagalli and Penn State’s Mike Gesicki.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award, especially at a place like the University of Oklahoma where there have been a ton of great tight ends like Keith Jackson, Trent Smith and Jermaine Gresham just to name a few,” said Andrews. “Just being mentioned for this award is a blessing, but to actually win it means so much to me. So many people at OU have helped me along the way and I couldn’t be more thankful to all of them.”

Andrews leads the nation’s tight ends with his 906 receiving yards and receiving yards per game (69.7), and is second in yards per catch (15.6), third in receptions (58) and sixth in touchdown receptions (eight).

He leads the Sooners in receptions with his 58 catches, the third-highest total ever by an OU tight end and the 22nd-highest mark overall, and eight touchdown receptions. A native of Scottsdale, Ariz., Andrews is Oklahoma’s all-time leader for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,713.

OSU’s Rudolph wins Golden Arm Award

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph is the 2017 recipient of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

“Winning the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is a meaningful honor for me because this is a reflection of how I was raised,” Rudolph said. “I was taught from a young age that there is more to life than football and I’m thankful to the committee for selecting me. I am humbled and thankful to everyone who helped me get to this point.”

Rudolph finished the regular season as the leading passer in the FBS, both in terms of passing yards (4,553) and passing yards per game (379.4) and he also leads the FBS in points responsible for (270) and points responsible for per game (22.5). He ranks second in the FBS in both total offense (4,582) and total offense per game (381.8).

The winningest quarterback in Oklahoma State history, Rudolph owns no fewer than 50 school records, with several more within reach at the bowl game.

He is a regular participant in OSU’s Coaches vs. Cancer program and makes frequent appearances at local elementary schools and churches.

“Mason represents our football program the right way. He’s won a ton of games for us. He’s played with broken ribs, he’s played with a broken foot and he’s been tremendous for this school and tremendous for society,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.

OSU’s Washington wins Biletnikoff Award

Oklahoma State’s James Washington was named the winner of the 2017 recipient of the Biletnikoff Award – presented to the nation’s top receiver – he is a first team selection to the 2017 Walter Camp All-America Team.

This is the third time the award has gone to OSU. Former Cowboys Justin Blackmon won it in 2010 and 2011. No other school has three Biletnikoff Trophies.

Washington enters the bowl game with 4,346 career receiving yards, which leads all active FBS players and ranks third in Big 12 history. He needs 68 yards to pass Rashaun Woods for the Oklahoma State school record and to move into second on the all-time Big 12 list. In 2017, Washington finished the regular season with 69 catches for 1,423 yards and 12 touchdowns. Washington’s 1,423 receiving yards and 118.6 receiving yards per game both led the FBS and his 12 touchdown receptions ranked fourth nationally. The other two finalists for the 2017 Biletnikoff Award were West Virginia’s David Sills and Colorado State’s Michael Gallup.

Washington and the Cowboys will play Virginia Tech in the Camping World Bowl on December 28 in Orlando.