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Oklahoma football: Johnny Manziel's attorney representing OU quarterback Baker Mayfield

The guy that helped Johnny Manziel stay eligible is now helping Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield become eligible for the Sooners
by Ryan Aber Modified: August 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm •  Published: August 6, 2014


photo - Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Cody Thomas and Trevor Knight go through drills during the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) football practice at the rugby fields in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield, Cody Thomas and Trevor Knight go through drills during the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) football practice at the rugby fields in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Asked last month at Big 12 Media Days about the decision to deny Mayfield’s transfer request, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury cited school policy.

Kingsbury has said Mayfield’s father knew a scholarship was upcoming from Texas Tech.

“That’s not a fact,” James Mayfield said.

Baker Mayfield was a walk-on at Texas Tech last season and quickly made waves, becoming the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season-opener at a power-conference school.

He wound up starting seven games for the Red Raiders, eventually earning Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. He threw for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. Mayfield also ran for three touchdowns.

Mayfield was named the Big 12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.

After the season, with no guarantees of a scholarship this fall and Kingsbury making clear the starting job would be up for grabs and Mayfield would not be favored, Mayfield decided to transfer.

He eventually settled on Oklahoma, which seemed like a strange move at the time as Blake Bell and Kendal Thompson remained at quarterback.

Bell soon moved to tight end, and Thompson transferred to Utah.

Now, especially after an exceptional performance in the spring game, Mayfield would likely have a strong chance to be the second on the depth chart behind Trevor Knight.

And with Knight’s recent injury history, the Sooners could use an experienced backup.

James said his son remained positive.

“Bake’s upbeat,” James said. “He’s working out hard. He’s glad he’s there.”

Darnell has also represented Baylor coaches through a pair of basketball scandals and former USC coach Tim Floyd.

Baylor coach Darrel Johnson was acquitted of seven counts of conspiracy and mail and wire fraud in 1995.

Rodney Belcher was an assistant coach at Baylor under Dave Bliss when a Bliss came under fire following the murder of Bears player Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson.

Belcher was given a seven-year show-cause penalty by the NCAA.

Floyd was eventually cleared of wrongdoing.

The 59-year-old Darnell attended Putnam City High School before going to college at Dartmouth and then SMU.

Darnell’s son and law partner, Jeep Darnell, received his law degree from OU.

With the season less than a month away, there is a sense of urgency from both the Mayfields and the Darnells in getting this case wrapped up as quickly as possible.

“It’s not about his scholarship,” James Mayfield said. “It’s about his immediate eligibility.”