During the next two months leading up to the Big 12 Media Days in Dallas, Sooners Illustrated will breakdown the Oklahoma Sooners roster, starting with Jarvis Baxter (No. 1 on the roster) and working all the way down to Marquise Overton (No. 98) and the incoming freshmen.
We’ll look at last year’s performance, the best-case scenario for this season – without projecting injuries – and what each player means to the short-term or long-term success of the Sooners.
No. 6 – QB Baker Mayfield (6-foot-1, 212 pounds)
3,700 passing yards, 68.1 completion percentage, 36 touchdowns, 7 rushing touchdowns
What happened last year: The journey from walk-on transfer to Heisman contender happened pretty quickly. Mayfield made a joke of any quarterback controversy in fall camp and provided the spark that Oklahoma desperately lacked the season before. He was fun to watch and made plenty of special plays. There was the comeback against Tennessee and the Heisman showcase against Baylor. What might have been most impressive was Mayfield’s decision making. He limited bad choices with his arm and cut down on interceptions while completing almost 70 percent of his passes. Mayfield sacrificed his body a little bit too often, but watching him play was always exciting. He put Oklahoma in a position to win every single game until the Orange Bowl. Mayfield threw for at least 300 yards in six different games and had more than 350 yards of total offense on four separate occasions. Only twice did Mayfield throw for fewer than two touchdowns. It just so happened that Oklahoma also lost those two games. Mayfield was the Sporting News Player of the Year and an All-American by anyone’s vote.
Level of importance for Sooners (1-10): 10. Last season, Mayfield earned a 10 in terms of importance. If he could go any higher than 10, he would. Although, there seems to be more confidence in Austin Kendall this year than there was in Trevor Knight by the end of the season – so that’s an upgrade that makes Mayfield slightly less important. Last year though, Mayfield was just the frontrunner for the starting spot in a pass-first offense. This year, he’s the frontrunner for the Big 12 Player of the Year and seems like a lock to be an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy. Everything changes for Oklahoma, if Mayfield misses significant time. There’s also a frighteningly high chance that scenario plays itself out.
Best-case scenario for this season: Is 5,000 total yards, a Heisman invite and an appearance in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year pretty best-case enough? It’s within reach. It would require another 800 total yards, but that would only take an extra 75 yards per game – or no games under 260 yards, which Mayfield had five of last season.