On December 9th, 2017, Baker Mayfield became just the sixth player from the University of Oklahoma and the first ever walk-on to win the Heisman Trophy.
Mayfield led his Sooners to a 12-1 record this year and the #2 overall ranking in the country, according to ESPN.com. He also guided his team to its second-ever berth in the College Football Playoffs.
According to Sports-Reference.com, Mayfield accounted for a total of 4,627 passing yards and 43 touchdowns during the season while only throwing a mere six interceptions.
From looking at this year’s stat line and his recent success, it would appear that Mayfield has always been the best player on the field. However, this has not always been the case.
Mayfield did not even start his college football career at Oklahoma; rather, he found himself walking onto the football team at Texas Tech University. And after performing well as a true freshman starter, he decided to transfer within the conference to Oklahoma the next year.
Mayfield quarterbacked the Sooners from 2015-2017, and his stats became progressively better each year he led the team.
In 2015, Mayfield led the team by throwing for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns according to Sports-Reference.com, and in 2016, he improved his numbers even more by throwing for 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Without a doubt, Mayfield’s best collegiate year to date was in 2017, when he claimed his first ever Heisman Trophy and the first for the University of Oklahoma since Sam Bradford won the award in 2008, according to Sports-Reference.com.
Within the BL community, all seemed to agree that Mayfield was the clear-cut choice for the Heisman.
Sophomore Bryce Milton believed that Mayfield was the clear choice because of his great story and underdog mentality. He also believed Mayfield’s success on the field made him a much better choice than any of the other finalists.
Mayfield was also a fan favorite among students at BL, as junior Ari Wister said he loved “the passion he plays with.” Senior Brandon Kagen added that he “admires Baker’s competitive spirit.”
Mayfield was announced as a finalist on December 4th for the award along with Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Bryce Love of Stanford.
Jackson, a quarterback for the University of Louisville, won the Heisman last year and threw for 3,660 yards and 27 touchdowns to go along with 10 interceptions. However, Jackson also used his legs often, running for 1,600 yards and adding another 18 touchdowns on the ground, according to Sports-Reference.com
Love, on the other hand, was a pro-style running back from the University of Stanford, who ran for 2,118 yards and had 19 touchdowns, according to Sports-Reference.com.
However, a notable snub from the finalist ballot was Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who many believe was a better candidate than both Love and Jackson.
“Saquon Barkley should’ve got on the ballot for sure. Just look at his bowl game versus Washington as proof,” senior Chris Brandau said.
Senior McKenney Box added that he would have “loved to see Barkley as a Heisman finalist,” and added that he was “the best player the first half of the year in college football.”