NORMAN — After his performance in Oklahoma’s spring game earlier this month, Baker Mayfield said he just wanted to help his new team win a national championship.
“I had the plan to come here because I wanted to win a national championship and whether it’s driving the defense on scout team or doing whatever, just trying to make this place better,” Mayfield said.
Right now, that looks likely to be as the Sooners’ scout-team quarterback after Texas Tech blocked his transfer to Norman. Barring a change, Mayfield will have to sit out this year and lose a season of eligibility.
But Mayfield and his family remain hopeful the decision will be overturned.
An appeal to Texas Tech failed shortly after his January transfer to OU, but the family soon plans to appeal to the NCAA.
Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech who started seven games last season as a true freshman, including the season opener. He threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns but decided to leave after the season when he grew frustrated by his lack of communication with Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury and wasn’t guaranteed a scholarship moving forward.
If Mayfield was going to be a long-term walk-on for a school, he wanted it to be for the Sooners, the team he grew up rooting for and dreaming of playing for one day.
That’s right. Mayfield, who was born and raised in Austin, Texas, grew up an OU fan.
Mayfield’s father, James, played for Houston but childhood relationships with Rex Norris and Charlie Sadler wound up turning the Mayfields into OU fans after both wound up on Oklahoma’s coaching staff by the late ’70s.
“Over the years we all remained friends and through Charlie and Rex, I met all the other guys — Donnie Duncan, Scott Hill, (Mike) Jones, (Bobby) Proctor, Charley North,” James said. “The whole crew.”
When Bob Stoops took over as Oklahoma’s head coach in 1999, he welcomed old coaches and players back into the program.
James and Gina Mayfield — and now their two sons, Baker and older brother Matt — remained especially close with Hill and his family.
The families would often vacation together and regularly would meet in Norman where Hill would get pregame sideline passes for the Mayfields.
“We used to come up and watch Quentin Griffin and Antonio Perkins and all those guys back in the day,” Baker said. “So I was just kind of born into it.”
So when Mayfield decided to leave Tech, it didn’t take him long to settle on Oklahoma — even with five other quarterbacks on the roster.
“One thing I base my whole life on is competition,” Baker said. “I think that drives me to be the better person.
“In high school, I wasn’t supposed to start and just battled through that. Even if Blake (Bell) and Kendal (Thompson) still were here and playing quarterback, I think I’d still be where I am right now pushing myself to be better. I’m not afraid of competition.”
After Thompson transferred to Utah and Bell moved to tight end, Mayfield is the only quarterback other than starter Trevor Knight to have game experience in college.
Following his performance in the spring game — he completed all nine of his passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns, more than doubling the production of any other quarterback — combined with his experience, it seems likely Mayfield could be the backup quarterback next fall if he’s able to regain his eligibility.
Either way, though, he’s glad to be in Norman after turning down chances to play much closer to home.
“I thought about it but through the initial recruiting process after not getting looked at by those places when I was right there next to them it was kind of a revenge kind of thing,” Baker said. “I wanted to come here anyways and I’ve always been a fan so it worked out.”