Baker Mayfield. Those two words can excite a whole nation; Sooner Nation.
From the time he was little, Baker Mayfield knew he wanted to be a Sooner. Even growing up in Austin, Texas, he was always a fan. “We used to come up and watch Quentin Griffin and Antonio Perkins and all those guys back in the day,” Baker said. “So I was just kind of born into it.” Not only has he become a Sooner, he has become one of the the greatest Sooners of all time. Baker Mayfield brings poise and moxie that nobody has ever seen. This dates back to his high school days as well. Mayfield has always been a winner who has had to defy the odds at every single stop along his journey.
“I wasn’t very big at all so they had other people playing that were more physically capable of winning games in high school. They had their plan, and I just developed my mental game of football before all that happened. Then I just realized you can know the game and still be good at it, even if you don’t have all the abilities.” In his junior and senior years at Lake Travis high school, he ended up posting a 25-2 record while leading his team to the state championship. Baker did not get the respect he deserved. He didn’t gain a lot of college attention, so he ended up walking on at Texas Tech. There, he defied the odds, became the starter, and played pretty dang well. He started seven games for the Red Raiders, throwing for 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
After his freshman year at Texas Tech, Mayfield decided it was time for a change of scenery. He chose Oklahoma as his new place to call home. Baker knew from the beginning the Norman was where he wanted to be. “I can see a vision in my head that I thought I’d play here eventually,” Mayfield said. “It’s a dream come true for me, but what happens on the outside and what people said, they doubted me.” Baker Mayfield is used to those by now; doubters.
In his first season at Oklahoma he did the unthinkable and led his Oklahoma squad to a College Football Playoff berth. Mayfield rattled off 3,700 yards through the air, throwing for 36 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and it really was a crime he wasn’t invited to New York at the end of the year. Although the season ended in a loss in the semis, Baker was determined. He got his year of eligibility back and was determined to bring this school a national championship.
Although the 2016 campaign got off to a rocky start, Mayfield never lost sight, and never lost determination. The Sooners, fresh off a tough loss to Ohio State, had fallen to 1-2 to start the season. Baker knew that wasn’t the culture that he was trying to build at Oklahoma. “I always hold myself to a high standard and high expectations. That’s how it should be. It’s just the fact that I haven’t met them. I’m going to continue and try to push for that. Like I said, start back from square one and re-channel it and find our identity as a team. Our backs are against the wall. We’re not in a good position — 1-2. That’s not how it should be here at Oklahoma. We’ll find our identity and fight back.” Baker never lost sight of the goal, even when it may have been easy to pass the blame. “We haven’t played a Big 12 game yet,” Mayfield said. “I’m going to work harder than anybody in this program. Work harder and do it harder than anybody coach Stoops has ever seen. I’m going to push, and we’re going to win a Big 12 title. And he did just that. Defying the odds, his team did not lose a game the rest of the year. He led OU to 10 straight victories finishing was a crushing 35-19 win over Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. He posted the highest QBR in College Football history and earned himself a trip to New York for the Heisman Ceremony.
This leads us to now. Through all the hard spots in his journey, he is here, leading his team one last time. Mayfield lost arguably his three best weapons (Westbrook, Perine, & Mixon) to the NFL draft, but don’t expect him to slow down at all any time soon. Baker has plans for the doubters, and once again, he will defy the odds. “I’ll be here another year, for a three-peat. The ultimate goal is to play for a national championship.” The Sooners will have talent on both sides of the ball. They will look to compete for their third straight Big XII Championship and eighth National Championship. It won’t be easy as a trip to Ohio State looms during week 2 on the schedule. Don’t expect that to change Mayfield’s mindset, as he’s never been one for the odds. Will the Sooners get their 8th National Championship? We will find out in Baker Mayfield’s last ride.
Article by Ross Lovelace