MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

April 15, 2014

Texas Tech transfer feels he’s at home at Oklahoma

NORMAN – Individual awards were not handed out after Saturday’s Red-White Game. If there had, quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have left Owen Field empty-handed.

He only played against defensive backups, but going 9 for 9 for 125 yards and two touchdowns on a windy day showed the sophomore is more than a walk-on quarterback. He could lead many teams to a lot of wins.

But why is he trying to do it at OU?

“I always wanted to come here, but I didn’t think I would end up here,” Mayfield said.

The odyssey that brought Mayfield to Norman was one of the oddest of the offseason. It’s not often a walk-on true freshman quarterback is named the Big 12 Conference’s offensive freshman of the year. Mayfield earned that honor after throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns at Texas Tech last season.

Still, when the starting job wasn’t his late in the season and he was still without a scholarship, Mayfield was ready to leave Lubbock, Texas. He figured since he wasn’t bound by a scholarship that meant he could go to any school he wished. Texas Tech and the NCAA didn’t see things that way. Mayfield won’t be eligible to play until 2015 and he’s lost the right to redshirt next season since Texas Tech blocked a transfer to OU.

But why ignite a fight to come to a place like OU, which has Trevor Knight, who established himself as the starter as a freshman?

“The one thing I’ve based my whole life on is competition. I think that drives me to be better a person,” Mayfield said. “In high school, I wasn’t even supposed to start. I’ve always battled through.”

If Mayfield could play next season, he would be a lot higher than No. 4 on the quarterback depth chart.

“I’m disappointed for him that the rules don’t allow him to play (in 2014), but in the end he has been a great teammate to these guys and the staff. We all love him. He has fit in wonderfully here,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.

Mayfield assumed he would. But there’s a lot of places that would’ve been better places. Leave the Big 12 and Texas Tech probably doesn’t block the transfer. He potentially would’ve been eligible to play next season.

The Austin, Texas, native and Lake Travis High School graduate could’ve looked much closer to home. The Longhorns’ quarterback issues over the last four years have been well chronicled.

Mayfield said spite ruled out a return to Austin.

“After not getting looked at by those places when I was right there next to them, it’s just a revenge kind of thing,” he said. “I wanted to come here anyways, and I’ve always been a fan, so it just kind of worked out.”

Mayfield said his father, James Mayfield, used to bring him to OU games as a child. His father was friends with former OU assistant coaches Mike Jones (1978-94) and Rex Norris (1973-83). He remembered watching former OU players Quentin Griffin and Antonio Perkins and being captivated by the Sooners.

Now he’s one of them.

“I had the plan to come here because I want to win a national championship,” Mayfield said. “So whether it’s driving the defense on scout team or doing whatever, just trying to make this place better. I grew up an OU fan, so I’m just trying to help out however I can.”

It will be behind the scenes in 2014. However, Mayfield showed on Saturday he can lead OU’s offense.

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