Baker Mayfield. If you haven’t heard the name by now, it might be time to turn on SportsCenter. One of the most polarizing college stars since Johnny Manziel and the number one pick in this year’s draft has been nothing short of impressive at Browns minicamp and offseason workouts, surprising everyone with his underrated arm strength and accuracy.
When the Browns went out and acquired Tyrod Taylor, everyone expected him to be the clear day one starter, but with the decision to draft Mayfield, things aren’t quite that simple. While Taylor will more than likely have the starting job when the Steelers come to town to open the season in Cleveland, the team clearly has future plans for Mayfield so don’t be surprised if he finds his way into the starting role if Taylor isn’t producing at a high level.
While all of that still remains speculation, here are some concrete facts about the Brown’s potential franchise QB:
High School: Lake Travis
A Texas state champion in High School, Baker Mayfield led Lake Travis High School to a 25-2 record and the 2011 4A State Championship in two seasons as the starting quarterback. Over his high school career, Mayfield compiled 6,255 passing yards, 67 touchdowns, and just 8 interceptions. Only given 3 stars as a recruit out of high school, Mayfield was not pursued by many big-name programs heading into college. Now to play and win a state title in Austin, Texas and have a school like Texas not even give him a look was personal for Mayfield.
College Career: Texas Tech/Oklahoma
After not being recruited, Mayfield decided to walk-on at Texas Tech, where after an injury to the team’s starting quarterback Michael Brewer, Mayfield was named the starter as a true freshman walk-on. In his first game, Baker tossed for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns against SMU and never looked back. In fact, before succumbing to an injury, and losing the starting job, Mayfield had put together 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, good enough to be named the 2013 Big 12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year. At the end of that season, Mayfield announced that he would be transferring schools due to a “miscommunication” issue with the Texas Tech coaching staff.
After he left Texas Tech, Mayfield enrolled at Oklahoma University where due to NCAA transfer rules, he was forced to redshirt the 2014 season. The following year in 2015, Mayfield won the starting position for OU and managed to lead the team to the Orange Bowl where the Sooners would fall to Clemson by a score of 37-17. Baker finished the season with 3,700 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, and finished fourth in Heisman voting. The following 2016-17 season saw even more improvement for Mayfield as he led the Sooners to a 35-19 Sugar Bowl victory over Auburn to finish a season in which Mayfield finished third in Heisman voting.
Again in 2018, Mayfield continued to take strides forward as this past year, he led the Sooners to not only a Big 12 Championship (a game which he won MVP honors), but also to the National Semifinals where they played Georgia at the Rose Bowl. After an incredible back and forth game, the Sooners would fall to the Bulldogs in overtime by a score of 54-48. Baker finished his final season with 4,340 passing yards, 46 total touchdowns (5 rushing) and 5 interceptions, good enough to finally win the Heisman trophy that had eluded him up to this point.
Baker was taken with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, and although he may not be the starter right away, don’t be surprised if you’re hearing the name Mayfield quite often on football Sundays from now on.