Baker Mayfield Recognized as College Football’s Top Walk-on Player


OU junior quarterback Baker Mayfield did not make the final cut for this year’s Heisman Trophy, but on Monday he did receive the award as the top player in college football this season who began his career as a walk-on.

Mayfield was presented the Burlsworth Trophy in a ceremony that took place in Fayettville , Ark., home of the University of Arkansas.

Having walked on twice in his college career – first as a freshman at Texas Tech and then at Oklahoma at the beginning of the 2014 season – Mayfield appears to be an ideal fit for this honor.

“It’s pretty special to me,” Mayfield was quoted as saying in a news article published on the OU athletics website. “It’s all about the journey to get where you are and the success is due to the work you put in and the support you get from people on the outside.”

Nov 28, 2015; Stillwater, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) passes against Oklahoma State Cowboys during the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Mayfield started the first five games at Texas Tech as a freshman, but suffered an injury and lost the starting job to another freshman QB, Davis Webb. At the end of the 2013 season, Mayfield elected to transfer out of the Red Raiders’ program and enrolled at Oklahoma, hoping to walk on to the Sooner football program.  but

Texas Tech officials, however, held off releasing him from his commitment to that school prohibiting him from transferring to another Big 12 school. As a result, Mayfield was forced to sit out his sophomore season in 2014 and did not play his first game for the Sooners until the season opener this season.

Mayfield grew up in Austin, Texas, in the backyard of the Texas Longhorns, but he had grown up as a fan of Oklahoma football.

Much of the Sooners’ football success this season can be attributed to Mayfield’s outstanding play at the quarterback position. The OU starting quarterback accounted for 42 touchdowns in the regular season as Oklahoma finished with an 11-1 overall record, a Big 12 championship and the No. 4 spot in this season’s College Football Playoff.

Mayfield ranked second in the nation in yards per pass attempt (9.6) and pass efficiency rating (178.9), No. 6 in passing touchdowns (35) and No. 7 in pass-completion percentage (.686). Moreover, the OU QB committed just five turnovers (interceptions) with a touchdown-to-turnover ratio of 8.4 to 1.

The main criteria for the Burlsworth Award is that a player must begin his first season in an FBS program without any financial aid from the school’s athletic department.