[Photo courtesy of Ty Russell/Oklahoma Athletics]
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has emerged as one of the most dynamic and exciting players to watch in college football. He won Big12 Freshman Player of the Year as a walk-on at Texas Tech in 2013, and has since gone on to rewrite many Sooner records held by current NFL quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Landry Jones.
We caught up with Mayfield this week to discuss his spectacular career and leadership.
FB: What was it like being one of the most lauded players in football as a walk-on freshman?
BM: “I always knew that I could compete with just about anyone. I had a pretty good high school career at quarterback and I attended camps like the Nike Opening, where there were some of the biggest names in college football. I felt like I held my own against the likes of J.T Barrett, Joshua Dobbs and others so I knew then that I could make it at this level.”
FB: How difficult was it to sit out a year due to transfer rules at Oklahoma?
BM: “Very hard. But, it allowed me enough time to get adjusted to the new system, coaches and school. I took that time to master the playbook and support my teammates. I wanted them to know that I was there for them on Saturdays, even if I wasn’t playing.
FB: What has helped you most in adjusting to the Sooner way of life?
BM: “I would say leaning on my teammates. I know that I can depend on these guys for anything and I want to show them that I’m the type of person they can depend on too, because we are a team. They’ve been really open about making me a part of the team.”
FB: You were one of a few junior quarterback captains this year, what does it mean to be in leadership of one of the nation’s top football programs?
BM: “It’s huge. I owe it to these guys supporting me and building me up. The coaches trust me in this spot because I try my best to maintain a positive attitude no matter the situation. It’s an honor to be a leader even though there are guys here that have been here a year or two longer than I have.”
FB: Your team started 1-2 this year and then ran the table, what caused the turnaround?
BM: “We had playoff aspirations going into the season and losing two of our first three games pretty much took us out of that conversation. But our next goal was to win the conference and we stuck together to get that done. The guys really bought into playing hard for each other so we could end the year off on a positive.”
FB: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned at the helm of the team this year?
BM: “The second I think I’ve made it is the exact second I’ll get beat. People are looking up to me and at the same time, want my spot. Being a leader is vocal but people watch what you do constantly.”