Baker Mayfield became the sixth Oklahoma Sooner in history to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, but it’s the journey he took to get to this point that truly is the story.
Mayfield went from what he described himself as being, “a chubby, unathletic kid” to becoming the best player in college football. He walked on at OU after spending one year as a walk-on at Texas Tech. During his acceptance speech, he thanked both former OU head coach Bob Stoops for welcoming him into the program and current head coach Lincoln Riley for being such a great mentor.
Last year, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, but this year his point total in the voting blew away his competition. Not bad for someone who had very few college offers when he came out of high school.
Mayfield received 2,398 total points and 732 first-place votes. He finished ahead of Stanford running back Bryce Love (1,300 total points) and 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville (793).
Mayfield helped lead the No. 2-ranked Sooners to a 12-1 record and a third consecutive Big 12 championship this season. On Jan. 1, the OU will play Georgia in the Rose Bowl as part of the semifinal round of the College Football Playoff.
However, it’s not been all positive press for Mayfield. In February, he was arrested for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and fleeing. At Ohio State in September, he planted an Oklahoma flag in the turf at midfield of Ohio Stadium immediately following the win over the ranked Buckeyes. In November, Mayfield was seen on camera shouting profanities and making obscene gestures toward Kansas players.
He has repeatedly apologized for his wrongdoings, and beyond his character flaws, there was no denying the fact that he was the best player in college football this season. Thankfully, the voters didn’t hold his missteps against him.
Mayfield may be a bit on the small side, compared to NFL quarterback standards, but with his pinpoint accurate arm and great knowledge of the game, he certainly has a good shot at signing with an NFL team next year, and actually seeing some serious playing time in the pro ranks (just like his predecessor Sam Bradford).
My favorite team is the Buffalo Bills, and they have struggled over the past 13 years to find an NFL quality starting quarterback. They have been through a bevy of other teams’ backup quarterbacks who have had to start when coming to Buffalo; J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Thad Lewis, Brian Brohm, Jeff Tuel, Kyle Orton, and Tyrod Taylor. The Bills haven’t had a true NFL starting quarterback since Drew Bledsoe (2002-2004). It would make me very happy to see Mayfield in a Bills’ uniform next season. Then they can release the experiment that is Nathan Peterman (five interceptions in one game, are you kidding me?) Also, the Bills could then cut loose of perennially injured Taylor.
If Mayfield has a stellar performance in the Rose Bowl, and gets the Sooners to the CFP Championship Game, his stock will certainly go up, and thus his draft position will likely also rise. And, if OU wins the National Championship, it would place Mayfield in greater demand. However, if he does anything to sour his name again, it could cause him to drop several slots on draft day. It’s been a fantasy story thus far for Mayfield, let’s hope it has a happy ending.