Few could’ve guessed a season following the end of beloved wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s illustrious OU career, the next Sooner to lead the team in receiving would be awarded the Biletnikoff and, along with his quarterback, receive an invitation to attend the Heisman ceremony as a finalist. Though a national title or a consecutive playoff berth were not in the cards for Oklahoma in 2016, to witness an historic and captivating season by two of the best ever to wear the crimson and cream served as a worthy consolation prize for the Sooner Nation.
This past Monday, Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook became the first quarterback/receiver tandem to be named Heisman finalists in the history of college football.
On the season, Baker Mayfield has thrown for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns to only eight interceptions and set a new FBS record for passer rating at 197.8 — six points higher than the previous mark set by Wisconsin's Russell Wilson five seasons ago. The charismatic Sooner signal caller also led the nation in completion percentage (71.2) and yards per pass (11.1). Mayfield’s completion percentage this season overtook the mark set by Sam Bradford in his 2008 Heisman-winning season as the best ever in Sooner history, and he now needs only 1,035 yards to pass Sammy B for second all-time in career passing yards at OU.
Mayfield also compares rather favorably to many of the previous Heisman-winning quarterbacks.
"Baker Mayfield, as it stands right now, should win the Heisman Trophy."
- Tom Luginbill, ESPN (Nov. 22)
Every Baker Mayfield touchdown of 2016:
Hampered by a hamstring injury through the first month of the season, the indomitable Dede Westbrook caught fire in conference play and accounted for nearly half of his razor-sharp quarterback’s touchdown passes in his prolific Biletnikoff-winning season. While former Sooner wideouts Mark Clayton and Ryan Broyles came close — Biletnikoff Award finalists in 2003 and 2011 respectively — the field-scorching Westbrook has enjoyed arguably the most special season ever by an OU wide receiver, and has now joined Amari Cooper (Alabama, 2014) and future NFL Hall of Famers Larry Fitzgerald (Pitt, 2003) and Randy Moss (Marshall, 1998) as the only wide receivers to be named finalists for the Heisman Trophy since Michigan’s Desmond Howard won the award 25 years ago.
Through 12 games, the senior speedster from Cameron, Texas, has 74 receptions for 1,465 yards (19.8 yards per catch) and a school-record 16 touchdowns, 12 of which came on plays of 40 yards or more and six that went for more than 65 yards. Westbrook tops the Power Five in receiving scores per game (1.33) and ranks third in receiving yards per game (123.1). His touchdowns have come on an average of 48.8 yards per catch. In a season full of explosive offensive numbers seen across the country, Westbrook has been the quintessential deep threat every team in the nation covets, and his blazing speed coupled with elite route-running ability has vaulted him into NFL first-round conversation and the top spot in ESPN’s Top 50 players in college football.
"I don't see any weakness. Every quality that you look for, he's got."
- Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia Head Coach
The Best of Westbrook 2016:
Tede’s Season Stats:
#Maybrook2016: A Sooner Connection for the Ages
A growing friendship between teammates that was strengthened in the offseason has translated into a 2016 run to remember and a shared post-season experience to cherish for a lifetime. Awhile back, Pro Football Focus analyst Bryson Vesnaver aptly coined the nickname “Maybrook” for the two game-breaking teammates full of swagger and the spectacular. The Mayfield-Westbrook connection has been the brightest spot all season and is a dynamic duo all Sooner fans wish could be together for just one more run.
The guys at CBS Sports give props to Maybrook’s season in their Heisman preview below.
“He’s got some ‘Randy Moss-esque’ in him.”
- Former Colorado Tight End Christian Fauria on Dede Westbrook