baker mayfield-heisman trophy-oklahoma sooners

Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, as widely expected, capping off one of the greatest college football careers of this decade — if not ever.

Mayfield earned first-place votes on 732 of the 887 ballots cast and nearly doubled second-place finisher Bryce Love in total points. Lamar Jackson finished third, followed by Saquon Barkley and Rashaad Penny.

It’s easy to forget now, but Mayfield was once a Texas Tech walk-on, having been deemed too scrawny for a scholarship at any of the schools the Austin native dreamed of playing at.

Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma after a prolific redshirt freshman year with the Red Raiders and kept putting up better and better numbers. He passed for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns his first year in Norman and finished fourth in Heisman voting. The following season he tallied 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns and placed third in the voting. In 2017 he improved to 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns (with at least one game to go) and finally won the award.

Along the way Mayfield delivered numerous memorable performances. In 2015, he accounted for 487 passing yards and four touchdowns against Tulsa, 388 yards and three touchdowns against Akron, 383 yards and four touchdowns against Kansas. The following fall, he threw for 545 yards and seven touchdowns against his former school, Texas Tech. Months later he completed 19 of 28 passes and tossed two touchdowns to lead Oklahoma over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. This fall, he grabbed Heisman frontrunner status by passing for an eye-opening 598 yards and five touchdowns in a win over rival Oklahoma State, which was ranked No. 11 at the time.

As a senior this year, he delivered exhilarating play with an entertaining swagger. Sure he took some heat for planting the OU flag on the Ohio State field and for cursing and gesturing at some Kansas players who had snubbed his handshake, but those controversies were innocent and even fun. That attitude was part of what made him so fun to watch.

Mayfield is not considered a slam-dunk NFL prospect, but even if he fails to match his college exploits in the pros, his legacy is secure. He has a strong case as the best quarterback in Oklahoma history and even a case as the best quarterback in Big 12 history. He’s currently eighth in FBS history in passing yards, and he’ll have a chance to move up two or three spots in the College Football Playoff, while potentially delivering the Sooners a national title.

The only thing missing from that resume had been a Heisman. Now he’s got one.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.