OU football: The weird and wild timeline of Baker Mayfield’s journey to the Heisman Trophy
2012: Baker Mayfield finishes his Texas high school career at Lake Travis with a 25-2 record and a 2011 state title. He passed for 6,255 yards and 67 touchdowns but only held Division I offers from Washington State, Rice and Florida Atlantic. As a kid growing up in Austin, Mayfield was a fan of the Sooners.
Mayfield walks on at Texas Tech, wins the starting quarterback job and leads TTU to a 41-23 victory over SMU in the season-opener, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns. He was thought to be the first walk-on to start a season-opener for a Power 5 school.
After an up-and-down year, Mayfield announces his intentions to transfer from Texas Tech. He won Big 12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors and threw for 2,315 yards, but after a midseason injury, Mayfield never regained a firm hold on the starting job. He later cited miscommunication with coach Kliff Kingbury and discrepancies over whether he would receive a scholarship as reasons for transferring.
Mayfield enrolls at Oklahoma despite no contact with the OU coaching staff. Sooners’ incumbent quarterback Trevor Knight had just led OU to a Sugar Bowl victory against Alabama.
Mayfield spends a year leading OU’s scout team, sitting out because of NCAA and Big 12 transfer rules. He also played intramural football and softball in his lost year at OU.
Mayfield is named Oklahoma’s starting quarterback over Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas. “We just felt Baker was a little more consistent overall in what we need to get done,” coach Bob Stoops said at the time.
Mayfield leads OU back from a 17-point deficit on the way to a 31-24 victory against Tennessee in double-overtime. The game became a defining performance in Mayfield’s career.
Mayfield leads to Sooners to the College Football Playoff and finishes fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. OU loses to Clemson in the Orange Bowl 37-17, and Mayfield finishes the year with 3,700 passing yards and 36 touchdowns.
The Big 12 grants Mayfield an additional year of eligibility in a decision that alters the conference’s intraconference transfer policy for walk-ons. Texas Tech was among the schools that voted in favor of the “Baker Mayfield Rule.”
OU starts the season 1-2 after a 45-24 loss to Ohio State, and Mayfield promises in postgame interviews he will lead the Sooners back to a Big 12 championship.
Mayfield unveils a back-to-back Big 12 champions patch on his undershirt after the Sooners beat Oklahoma State 38-20 to win the conference. Mayfield becomes a Heisman Trophy finalist and finishes third after throwing for 3,965 yards and 40 touchdowns. The Sooners go on to beat Auburn 35-19 in the Sugar Bowl.
Mayfield is arrested on public intoxication, fleeing and resisting arrest charges in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A police dash cam video of officers tackling Mayfield went viral. After a lengthy apology, Mayfield eventually reached a plea bargain. His punishment from the OU football program did not include a suspension.
Bob Stoops announces his retirement as head coach, and former offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley takes over a new era in Mayfield’s last season. “Thank you for everything Coach,” Mayfield posted to Twitter that day. “You turned a little boy’s dreams into a reality. I will be forever grateful.”
Mayfield plays one of his most iconic games, throwing for 386 yards and leading OU to a 35-16 victory at Ohio State. After the game, Mayfield celebrated by striking an OU flag into Ohio State’s turf, and he apologized for the action in a press conference the following Monday.
Mayfield throws for a career-high and OU record 598 yards in a 62-53 victory against Oklahoma State. He finishes his OU career 3-0 against OSU and 2-1 against Texas.
Mayfield grabs his crotch and shouts expletives on national television in a 41-3 victory against Kansas. Amid more national scrutiny, Mayfield was suspended from the first series of OU’s Senior Day game against West Virginia and issued another emotional apology.
OU wins its third consecutive Big 12 title with Mayfield at quarterback after beating TCU 41-17. Mayfield, who also had spats with TCU coach Gary Patterson in the past, added “Again in 2017” to his Big 12 champions undershirt.
Mayfield is again a Heisman Trophy finalist and the overwhelming favorite to win the award. Oklahoma is set for a return to the College Football Playoff with a semifinal game against Georgia in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.
— Cody Stavenhagen, Tulsa World