TULSA — Akylen Mayfield gives Tulsa Edison coach D.J. Howell options.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior can play almost any skill position. During his junior season, he lined up at quarterback, wide receiver, running back and cornerback, and Howell plans on playing Mayfield at more positions during his senior year.
Add to that the fact Tulsa Edison has young, developing players, and Howell can draw up just about any play for Mayfield.
“Because of these other guys, it allows us to have flexibility to move Akylen in places to get him the football because we don’t have to have him at quarterback or tailback or receiver,” said Tulsa Edison’s second-year head coach.
Sometimes Howell tells his quarterback — when it’s not Mayfield — to get the ball to Mayfield no matter what look opposing defenses give, but Mayfield knows he creates openings for his teammates to shine.
“When (opposing teams) double-team me, there’s a chance for my teammates to be open,” Mayfield said. “With everybody keying on me, we can give (the ball to me) or give it away to somebody else because they’ll be open most of the time.”
But providing options to open up the field for his teammates is not how Mayfield landed the No. 17 spot on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 recruiting rankings. Mayfield wants the ball, and he is dangerous when he gets it.
“I just think that when the ball’s in my hands I can be a deadly weapon for us,” Mayfield said. “I just like having the ball.”
Mayfield totaled 2,257 yards and 19 touchdowns through the air and on the ground — 1,158 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing and 1,099 yards and 9 touchdowns passing — in 2013. Whether lined up at quarterback or as the tailback, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry last season.
Mayfield’s versatility forces opposing coaches to know where he is on the field at all times, Howell said. He knows other teams constantly have an eye on Mayfield, which helps dictate how Mayfield can get his hands on the ball and how Tulsa Edison’s other players can make plays, he said.
While Mayfield likes the attention and having his number called on almost any given play, he sees the downside to it, too.
“It’s good but at the same time I don’t like it,” he said. “Sometimes when you get too much attention you can’t really show what you can do.”
He has one scholarship offer from Arkansas State, but multiple other Division I schools have expressed interest in the versatile player, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Kansas State, Tulsa and Oregon State.
Although Mayfield has time to figure out what he will do for college, he has options once he gets on campus. Recruiters have pitched him playing offense or defense, Mayfield said, and that will influence what he decides to do about his future.
“If I want to go to a school where I can have the option to play offense or defense, it really helps the recruiting process,” he said.
Howell said Mayfield has the potential to play in the NFL, but he has yet to play his best ball. Reaching that potential is something that helps keep Mayfield motivated.
“(I have to) grind 24/7 and eat,” Mayfield said. “Family and knowing I have something to look forward to (keeps me motivated).”
The Oklahoman’s Super 30
No. 17: Akylen Mayfield
School: Tulsa Edison
Position: QB, WR, DB
Recruited by: Has an offer from Arkansas State and is drawing interest from OU, OSU, Oregon State, Tulsa, Arkansas and Kansas State