Baker Mayfield began making college football history the moment he stepped onto the field as a walk-on Week 1 starting quarterback at Texas Tech in 2013.
Little did we know that the history he made in his first game was merely the beginning of a historic career that has taken many twists and turns since then, from an injury to a transfer to Oklahoma to a year sitting out to three years leading the Sooners as their superstar starting quarterback. On Saturday night, Mayfield took a gigantic step toward another kind of history, the type that would have seemed so unlikely when he first walked on in Lubbock four years ago: He's become an all-time college football great.
Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy for 2017, running away from the field in a landslide. Mayfield captured 732 first-place votes -- 657 more than second-place finisher Bryce Love -- and he received 86 percent of the possible points on the three-person ballots, the third-highest percentage in history behind Troy Smith and Marcus Mariota.
1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma (2,398 points)
2. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford (1,300)
3. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville (793)
4. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State (304)
5. Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State (175)
6. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (58)
7. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State (56)
8. McKenzie Milton, QB, UCF (54)
9. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn (45)
10. Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia (38)
Since arriving at Oklahoma, Mayfield has led the Sooners to three Big 12 championships and two College Football Playoff bids. He finished third nationally in passer rating in 2015, set the single-season FBS passer rating record last year and is on pace to break his own record this season. In leading the Sooners to a 12-1 record, Mayfield has completed 71 percent of his passes for 4,320 yards, 41 touchdowns and five interceptions, giving him an average of 11.8 yards per pass attempt and 16.6 yards per completion, with a rating of 203.8. He also has 310 yards and five touchdowns as a runner.
Mayfield has 14,320 yards and 129 touchdowns though the air in his college career. After finishing fourth in the Heisman vote in 2015 and third last year -- when this year's third-place finisher, Jackson, won it -- Mayfield became the seventh player to finish in the top five of the Heisman vote three times. The previous six all won the award at least one of those years (Archie Griffin did it twice), and Mayfield has joined this exclusive club of college football legends that includes Griffin, Glenn Davis, Doc Blanchard, Doak Walker, Herschel Walker and Tim Tebow.
It's a club Mayfield rightfully belongs to.
Yes, there have been bumps in the journey, including an offseason public intoxication arrest and some recent drama in a game at Kansas. Mayfield's performance, however, continues to be otherworldly and, without question, Heisman-worthy.
Mayfield became the sixth Oklahoma player to win the Heisman (Love became the sixth Stanford player to finish second), and he does so because of a season in which he threw multiple touchdown passes in every game, averaged at least 10 yards per attempt 10 times and passed for over 300 yards eight times. He threw for 598 yards in a Bedlam rivalry win over Oklahoma State, and he was nearly flawless (27 of 35 for 386 yards and three TDs) in a 31-16 road win at Ohio State. He did this all despite losing head coach Bob Stoops, Heisman finalist receiver Dede Westbrook and thousand-yard runners Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon from last year's team. He's formed a perfect pairing with head coach Lincoln Riley, his offensive coordinator the past two years, as he established himself as a master of Oklahoma's wide-open offense with impressive arm strength, mobility and improvisational ability.
Mayfield is having the most efficient passing season in the history of the sport, which is allowing him to have one of the best passing careers ever. It's also allowed him to lead Oklahoma to the playoff, where it can add to his resume as the Sooners pursue a national championship, starting with the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl vs. Georgia.
But upon winning the Heisman Trophy and earning a third straight top-four finish, his place in college football history is secure. Mayfield will forever be mentioned alongside legends of the game, as he's become one himself in an unlikely journey from walk-on to Heisman winner.