Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has made his mark with the Sooners with the chip on his shoulder attitude.
It’s something that has driven him for years now, and nobody really knew exactly how Mayfield was going to handle Big 12 media days in Dallas earlier this week.
After all the success on the field during his college days at Texas Tech and obviously last year with the Sooners, Tuesday marked Mayfield’s initial foray into the all-out media assault.
Whenever anybody had a question, Mayfield had the answer. He was quick. He was witty. He was assertive. He was the Mayfield that OU fans have grown to love and admire. He was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Entering the 2015 season, it wasn’t Mayfield at the podium. OU didn’t shy away from bringing a quarterback, but it was Trevor Knight instead of Mayfield. Knight, Mayfield and Cody Thomas were then involved in a three-man race for OU’s starting quarterback spot.
Mayfield won the job in August and never looked back, helping lead the Sooners to their ninth Big 12 championship and their first berth in the four-team college football playoff.
Following the loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl, it looked like Mayfield would only have one more season to try to live his dream of being the quarterback at OU and leading the Sooners to a national championship.
That all changed this summer when the Big 12 reversed its ruling on the walk-on transfer rule, aka ‘The Baker Mayfield Rule.’ As long as the original school didn’t have an offer in writing, a student-athlete could transfer within the conference and not lose a year of eligibility.
Mayfield responded on Twitter following the announcement, but Tuesday was the first time he publicly addressed the situation.
“It's so exciting for me because it's been such a long process,” Mayfield said. “It's the right thing to do. It's been a two-and-a-half year process. We've been waiting for the Big 12 to make the right decision and they did. I'm so thankful for that and to be able to have another year to play college ball at my dream school is really special to me.”
Mayfield wasn’t alone Tuesday in Dallas, being joined by running back Samaje Perine, linebacker Jordan Evans and defensive back Ahmad Thomas. The spotlight was on Mayfield, who even had more steady media attention than head coach Bob Stoops.
Mayfield never blinked. Never gave that controversial quote. Media members from across the country would ask Stoops and Mayfield’s teammates what makes him so special. Mayfield has earned the reputation for his dancing and goofy off the field demeanor as much for his prowess as a quarterback.
He’s not afraid to have fun, but the tone quickly changes when it’s time to get serious. It’s how he won over the locker room in Norman and the starting quarterback spot.
“He’s just so competitive,” Evans said. “You guys hear about the funny stuff, but he’s one of the hardest workers you’re going to find. He’s so determined.”
Now in year No. 2 with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, OU players, coaches and fans alike believe it’s national championship or bust.
Those are expectations Mayfield can live with. Those are expectations Mayfield is ready for. Tuesday marked the unofficial start to the 2016 season, and Mayfield handled it well just like he always has. In the spotlight, he’s right where he thrives and belongs.