Walk-on to Heisman: Oklahoma’s Mayfield wins in landslide

Walk-on to Heisman: Oklahoma's Mayfield wins in landslide

NEW YORK (AP) – Baker Mayfield took a singular highway to the Heisman Trophy, a protracted and winding climb from walk-on to one of the vital achieved gamers to ever play school soccer.

The brash, flag-planting Oklahoma quarterback turned the sixth Sooner to the win Heisman on Saturday night time in one of the vital lopsided votes within the 83-year historical past of the award.

Stanford operating again Bryce Love was the runner-up, making it 5 second-place finishes for the Cardinal since 2009. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, final yr’s Heisman winner, was third, the most effective end by a returning winner since Tim Tebow of Florida in 2008.

Mayfield acquired 732 first-place votes and a pair of,398 factors. Love had 75 first-place votes and 1,300 factors and Jackson acquired 47 and 793. Mayfield acquired 86 % of the full factors out there, the third-highest share in Heisman historical past behind Ohio State’s Troy Smith (91.63 %) in 2006 and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (90.92) in 2014.

Mayfield is the third participant to win the Heisman heading to the Faculty Soccer Playoff. The second-ranked Sooners meet No. three Georgia within the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. He’s the primary senior to win the award since Smith and the primary Heisman winner to start his profession as a walk-on since athletic scholarships began within the 1950s.

“It has been a tricky journey,” Mayfield mentioned throughout his acceptance speech. He choked again tears, thanking his mother and father and first-year Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.

“Tried to play it cool,” Mayfield mentioned later. “That is not my factor although. I am a man that wears his feelings on his sleeve.”

Mayfield completed fourth within the Heisman voting two years in the past and third final yr. “It is motivating for me to be the most effective within the nation,” he mentioned.

Mayfield entered this season as one of many Heisman favorites and jumped towards the entrance of the pack when he led the Sooners to an early victory at Ohio State that he celebrated by planting the OU flag within the Horseshoe turf.

He later apologized for that, however that has been Mayfield’s profession. Spectacular play fueled by grudges, slights and making an attempt to show doubters mistaken. Moxie is the phrase that will get connected to Mayfield typically, however at occasions poor judgment has gotten him in hassle on and off the sphere.

These had been actually the one marks on Mayfield’s Heisman resume as a result of his play has been constantly stellar. He has thrown for four,340 yards and 41 touchdowns this season for the Large 12 champion Sooners (12-1). For his profession, Mayfield is eighth in FBS historical past in yards passing (14,320) and sixth in landing passes (129).

Fairly good for a scrawny child who grew up in Austin, Texas, rooting for Oklahoma, however didn’t obtain a scholarship supply out of highschool from both the hometown Longhorns or his beloved Sooners.

At Lake Travis Excessive College, Mayfield gained a state championship at a faculty that frequently pumps out Division I quarterbacks. He acquired one supply from a Energy 5 program – Washington State.

“There’s one thing to be mentioned for having simply good ol’ confidence in your self,” Mayfield mentioned. “Simply true perception. My journey, like I mentioned earlier shouldn’t be over, nevertheless it’s about dealing with adversity. If there’s errors, being up entrance about it after which shifting ahead and being higher sooner or later.”

He walked-on at Texas Tech and began eight video games as a freshman in 2013. With a glut of quarterbacks in Lubbock, Mayfield left and had just one college in thoughts. He walked-on once more at Oklahoma.

Mayfield thanked former Sooners coach Bob Stoops, who additionally was on the Greatest Purchase Theater in midtown Manhattan, for welcoming a “chubby, unathletic child into this system with open arms.” That was additionally Riley’s first season as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator. The 2 have been an ideal match.

“For any coach to have an opportunity on your man to be standing right here, to win the Heisman Trophy, and simply to do it sort of on the finish of such a protracted journey we have had collectively, it is very particular,” Riley mentioned.

Mayfield’s departure from Texas Tech was contentious. At first, he misplaced a yr of eligibility, regardless of not being on scholarship. He ultimately bought that yr again when the Large 12 tweaked its guidelines, however he by no means did let it go. For his final sport in opposition to Texas Tech this season, he wore the “Traitor” T-shirt that some Purple Raiders followers wore when he first returned to Lubbock with Oklahoma.

Later within the yr, it was Kansas – of all groups – that attempted to get the risky Mayfield off his sport. Jayhawks captains refused to shake his hand in the course of the pregame coin flip. They trash-talked Mayfield and even took a late hit at him. He responded by screaming profanities and making a lewd gesture that tv cameras caught. That led to a public apology from Mayfield, his third this yr.

The primary got here after he was arrested in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in February for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing. He pleaded responsible to 3 misdemeanors and paid a $300 wonderful. The second got here after that flag planting in Columbus, Ohio, after the Sooners beat the Buckeyes.

Mayfield is an old-school Heisman winner. For many years, seniors dominated the Heisman, however during the last 10 years 4 juniors, 4 sophomores and two redshirt freshmen have gained. By comparability, Mayfield has been round ceaselessly. He has performed 47 school video games. Solely USC’s Carson Palmer with 50 had performed extra when he gained his Heisman in 2002.

There’s at the least yet one more sport to play for Mayfield, and perhaps two. He and the Sooners will go into the playoff as a slight underdog in opposition to Georgia, which appears solely applicable for a participant who has constructed his profession on exceeding expectations.

Requested what has been his greatest second, Mayfield predictably answered: “It hasn’t occurred but.”