One week after finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy balloting, Oklahoma junior quarterback Baker Mayfield was selected by Sporting News as college football's top dog. The publication named Mayfield its national player of the year Thursday.
It marks the second major honor for Mayfield, who also won the Burlsworth Trophy last week as the nation's best player who began his career as a walk-on.
"It's a great honor to be named Sporting News' Player of the Year," said Mayfield, whose Big 12-champion Sooners (11-1) will take on top-ranked Clemson (13-0) on Dec. 31 in the Capital One Orange Bowl at the College Football Playoff in Miami, Fla. "If you look at the list of people who have won this award, it's very prestigious and some great legends from OU have won it. It's humbling and I'm grateful to be able to represent my school.
"The only reason I get recognized is because of the work of our team and the success it has," he added. "I'm thankful for my teammates and coaches and to be able to go compete for a national championship with them."
Mayfield, the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-American by Sporting News and the Walter Camp Foundation, ranks No. 2 nationally in yards per pass attempt (9.6) and pass efficiency rating (178.9), No. 6 in passing TDs (35) and points responsible for per game (21.0) and No. 7 in pass completion percentage (.686). The Austin, Texas, native has accounted for 42 touchdowns and only five turnovers (8.4 to 1 ratio) on the season and has helped OU surpass 500 yards of total offense in nine of 12 games, including in each of the last seven.
In addition, he has thrown for at least one touchdown in all 12 games and for at least three TDs in eight contests. He has also rushed for 420 yards and seven scores.
Sporting News senior college football writer Matt Hayes penned of Mayfield: "He’s a program-defining player whose spirit, intensity and moxie rub off on others around him, forcing them to perform at his level."
Mayfield becomes the seventh Oklahoma player to be named Sporting News Player of the Year. Previous honorees were Billy Vessels (1952), Tommy McDonald (1956), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008). Only Ohio State (nine) has had more winners.