Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy by a wide margin on Saturday night, becoming the sixth player in school history to win the most prestigious individual award in all of sports. Mayfield received 86 percent of the total votes, which is the third-highest percentage of all time.
The other two finalists — Louisville QB Lamar Jackson and Stanford RB Bryce Love — have had fantastic seasons, but Mayfield has just been on another level in 2017. He leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in completion percentage (71%), passing efficiency rating (203.8, which would be an NCAA record if he stays on pace), yards per attempt (11.8), yards per completion (16.6) and passing plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (41) and has thrown only five interceptions.
Mayfield is the sixth player in school history to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Billy Vessels (1952), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008). Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC (if you include Reggie Bush) still lead the way with seven trophies apiece, but OU has now narrowed the gap.
Mayfield is the first former walk-on to ever win the award and is also the first Heisman winner to wear the number 6. Mayfield has a chance next month to become the first player in school history to win both a Heisman and a national championship in the same season.
On a national scale, Mayfield is considered a polarizing figure, and that’s understandable. However, he’ll also undoubtedly go down as the best quarterback in the history of his program. His Heisman Trophy season will be considered the best in school history even if his Sooners don’t end up winning it all. This also obviously goes far beyond his stats. I don’t think any offensive player at OU has ever energized his guys quite like Mayfield has these past three seasons. He may not be perfect, but he’s without a doubt the perfect leader of a football team. He’s endeared himself to his teammates and fans unlike anyone I’ve ever seen in Norman, and he’ll never have to buy a drink on Campus Corner as long as he lives. The average Oklahoman is perhaps considered humble by nature, but we love it when our players and coaches bring swagger to the fields and arenas. Mayfield does exactly that.
The ultimate goal for Mayfield, of course, is to lead his team to a national championship. If he ends up leading OU to two victories in the College Football Playoff, Mayfield will likely go down as the best to play football at OU — regardless of position. Perhaps this is recency bias, but I have a hard time believing that any player will ever be more beloved in Norman than Baker, especially if he can lead OU to No. 8.
When no one is watching, what are you doing? You don’t get to New York without work.— Cole Smith (@OU_ColeSmith) December 10, 2017
Picture I took on a Sunday morning in March 2015 of @baker_mayfield6 preparing for spring practices. #OUDNA #BuiltDifferent pic.twitter.com/rq8AXPVfK4