Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is the winner of the 2017 Heisman Trophy.
The formal announcement made Saturday night in New York City was hardly a surprise, as Mayfield has been viewed as they heavy favorite to take home the award since early November.
Mayfield beat out the 2016 winner, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, and Stanford running back Bryce Love to win the honor.
He’s the sixth Oklahoma player to win the award, joining Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Sam Bradford.
The tide for his Heisman candidacy turned on Nov. 4 when Mayfield lit up rival Oklahoma State for 6 total touchdowns and a school record 598 passing yards en route to an upset victory in Stillwater.
The award is the culmination of Mayfield’s wild an inexplicable career. He started as a walk-on at Texas Tech with very few FBS offers. He then won the starting job out of fall camp, leading the Red Raiders to marginal success. Mayfield was named Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year for his efforts, and then after after not receiving a scholarship offer, bolted five hours northeast to Norman, Okla., to play for the school he grew up dreaming about.
This was Mayfield’s second time to visit New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist. He finished third last season behind Jackson and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson. He was not a finalist in 2015, but he did finish fourth. Mayfield is the only quarterback in college football history to finish in the top four of Heisman voting in three separate years.
Statistically, Mayfield has had an all-time great season. He’s set to shatter his own record for passing efficiency with a new high-water mark of 203.8. Prior to last season, former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson had the record with a rating of 191.8.
He’s thrown for 4,340 yards, 41 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions while completing 71 percent of his passes. He’s also on pace to break Michael Vick’s FBS record for yards per attempt (11.8) while leading the nation in completion percentage.
However, it’s not just the stats that make Mayfield’s season stand out.
He became a household name on Sept. 9 when he planted the OU flag on Ohio State’s midfield logo after the Sooners won 31-16 in Columbus. Two weeks later, he was a social-media sensation when cameras caught him telling Baylor, “You forgot who daddy is, I’m going to have to spank you today.” And then on Nov. 18, Mayfield was caught taunting Kansas’ sideline with a crotch grab and expletives, prompting some Heisman voters to wonder if he deserved their vote.
There were plenty of other moments that Mayfield caught national headlines for one thing or another: He wore a Texas Tech “traitor” shirt into Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium before facing his old team in Norman; he pegged a TCU player in the head in warmups before a top-10 matchup in Norman; he also threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Mark Andrews against Texas and led a game-saving drive against Kansas State on the road.
Perhaps most important, Mayfield has lead Oklahoma to an 11-1 record and the No. 2 overall spot in the College Football Playoff. His Sooners will face off against Georgia in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
This is a huge deal for Mayfield and Oklahoma, but the Sooners QB has made sure to keep things in perspective throughout this process. He was asked after winning the Big 12 Championship Game if he thought he had done enough to win the Heisman Trophy.
“I’m not worried about that, I’m going for a national title,” he said.
Mayfield will get that chance if he can beat the Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.