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Baker Reagan Mayfield (born April 14, 1995)[1] is an American football quarterback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL).

Baker Mayfield
refer to caption
Mayfield in 2018
No. 6 – Cleveland Browns
Position:Quarterback
Personal information
Born: (1995-04-14) April 14, 1995 (age 24)
Austin, Texas
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Lake Travis (Austin, Texas)
College:Oklahoma
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
TDINT:27–14
Completion percentage:63.8
Passing yards:3,725
Passer rating:93.7
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Mayfield began his college football career as a walk-on player for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. He is notable for being the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener at a BCS school.[2] Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma following alleged scholarship issues and a lack of communication with coaches.[3] After sitting out the 2014 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mayfield won the starting quarterback job in 2015.[4][5] He won several awards for his performance as a senior in 2017, including the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and unanimous All-America recognition.

Mayfield was drafted by the Browns first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. In his first NFL appearance, Mayfield led Cleveland to their first win in 19 games, ending a 635 day winless streak. He threw 27 touchdowns in his 13 starts for the Browns in 2018, breaking the rookie-season passing-TD record previously held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson.

Contents

Early life and high school careerEdit

Mayfield was born on April 14, 1995 to James and Gina Mayfield, the second of two sons.[1][6] James, a private equity consultant, encountered financial difficulties during his younger son's senior year in high school. These struggles forced the Mayfields to sell their family home and move from rental home to rental home.[6]

Mayfield grew up as a fan of Oklahoma, and he attended a number of their games during his childhood.[4] His father played football for three years for the University of Houston, though James never lettered.[6]

Mayfield was the starting quarterback for the Lake Travis High School Cavaliers football team.[7] He led Lake Travis to a 25–2 record in two seasons and won the 2011 4A State Championship.[7] He finished his high school football career totaling 6,255 passing yards, 67 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.[1]

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Baker Mayfield
QB
Austin, Texas Lake Travis High School 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 200 lb (91 kg)  
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247SportsN/A    ESPN grade: 70
Overall recruiting rankings:
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

College careerEdit

Texas TechEdit

Shortly before the start of the 2013 season, Mayfield was named as the starting quarterback following a back injury of projected starter and former Lake Travis quarterback Michael Brewer.[8] Mayfield is believed to be the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener at the quarterback position.[6]

In his first start against SMU, Mayfield passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns. His 43 completions of 60 attempts broke a school record held by Billy Joe Tolliver, and fell only four completions short of the NCAA Division I FBS single-game record for completions by a freshman, held by Luke McCown.[9][10] For his performance, Mayfield was named Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Week – the first freshman Texas Tech quarterback to be named so since former Red Raider head coach Kliff Kingsbury in 1999.[11] The game featured the last four former Lake Travis quarterbacks combined on both teams: Garrett Gilbert, Michael Brewer, Collin Lagasse, and Mayfield.[12]

Following the Red Raiders' second victory over Stephen F. Austin, Mayfield's 780 season yards and seven touchdowns already exceeded the 755 yards and six touchdowns accrued by Texas Tech's last true freshman quarterback, Aaron Keesee, in 10 games.[13] After being affected by injury and losing the starting job to fellow true freshman Davis Webb, Mayfield finished the season with 2,315 yards on 218-of-340 completions with 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.[14]

Mayfield was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy in November; the award is given to the best player in Division I football who began his college career as a walk-on.[15]

Mayfield earned Big 12 Conference Freshman Offensive Player of the Year for the 2013 season.[16] Mayfield announced that he would be leaving the program due to a "miscommunication" with the coaching staff.[17][18]

OklahomaEdit

Mayfield enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in January 2014, but had not contacted the Sooner coaching staff. Mayfield further elaborated in an interview with ESPN that he sought to transfer due to scholarship issues and a perception that he had earned the starting position and that further competition was not "really fair."[3][17] The alleged scholarship issues were denied by Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.[19]

In February 2014, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops confirmed that Mayfield would be walking on for the Oklahoma Sooners. Mayfield was not eligible to play until the 2015 season, and lost a season of eligibility due to Big 12 Conference transfer rules following an unsuccessful appeal of his transfer restrictions.[20]

2015 seasonEdit

On August 24, 2015, Mayfield was named the starting quarterback for the Sooners after winning an open quarterback competition against Trevor Knight.[21] On September 6, 2015, Mayfield started against Akron. Mayfield totaled 388 passing yards with three passing touchdowns on 23 completions in the 41–3 win.[22] In the second game of the 2015 season, Mayfield started at Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. The Sooners were ranked 19th at the time and the Volunteers were ranked 23rd. Mayfield started off very slow in the game, not even reaching midfield until the 13-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Oklahoma came back from a 17-point deficit to win the game by a score of 31–24 in double overtime. Mayfield threw for 187 yards and three touchdowns on 19 completions while throwing two interceptions early in the game.[23] In the third game of the season, Mayfield started against Tulsa. He had a career day, throwing for 487 yards and four touchdowns, including 316 yards in the first half. Mayfield also ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns in the 52–38 win.[24][25]

Mayfield finished the year with 3,700 passing yards, 36 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He finished fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy and helped lead Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff semifinal (2015 Orange Bowl). However, Oklahoma lost to Clemson by a score of 37–17.[26]

2016 seasonEdit

Mayfield started off the 2016 season with 323 passing yards and two touchdowns in a 33–23 loss to #15 Houston.[27] In the rivalry game against Texas on October 8, he had 390 passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in the 45–40 victory.[28] On October 22, in a 66–59 victory over Texas Tech, Mayfield had 545 passing yards and seven touchdowns in a historic matchup against future NFL quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes tallied 734 passing yards and five touchdowns to go along with Mayfield's numbers in a game that broke various single-game passing records.[29] Over the final five games of the regular season, Mayfield totaled 1,321 passing yards, 15 passing touchdowns, and three interceptions, to go along with three rushing touchdowns. All five games were victories for the Sooners.[30]

In December 2016, it was announced that Mayfield and his top receiving target, Dede Westbrook, would be finalists for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. It was also announced that they would play in the 2017 Sugar Bowl.[31] Mayfield ended up finishing third in the Heisman voting.[32]

In the 2017 Sugar Bowl, Mayfield helped lead the Sooners to a 35–19 victory over Auburn. He finished the game with 19 completions on 28 attempts for 296 passing yards and two touchdowns, earning him the MVP award.[33]

2017 seasonEdit

On September 9, 2017, after a win against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Mayfield planted the Sooners' flag in the middle of the painted "O" at Ohio Stadium, causing a major public backlash.[34][35] Mayfield issued an apology shortly afterwards.[35]

On November 4, 2017, Mayfield threw for a school-high 598 yards against in-state rival Oklahoma State.[36] Mayfield finished 24-for-36 with five passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, and Oklahoma won the game by a score of 62–52.[37][38] Mayfield completed his career 3–0 as the starting Oklahoma quarterback in the Bedlam Series.[37]

 
Mayfield at 2017 Big 12 Media Days

In November 2017, Mayfield was under fire again after an interaction during the game against Kansas. Mayfield was seen grabbing his crotch and mouthing "Fuck you!" at the coach of the opposing team. He also told their fans to "Go cheer on basketball."[39] In response, Mayfield issued another public apology.[40] Days after the 41–3 victory over Kansas, Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley announced that Mayfield would not start or be the captain during the upcoming game against West Virginia due to his actions against Kansas.[41]

On December 2, 2017, with the return of the Big 12 Championship Game after a six-year hiatus,[42] Mayfield led Oklahoma to its third straight Big 12 championship, with Oklahoma beating the TCU Horned Frogs 41–17.[43][44] Mayfield won MVP honors while Oklahoma clinched a second playoff berth in three years.[43] A month later, the Sooners lost to the Georgia Bulldogs 54–48 in the 2018 Rose Bowl, which served as the national semifinal game.[45]

On December 9, 2017, Mayfield won the 2017 Heisman Trophy with a sweeping majority.[46] He received 732 first-place votes and a total of 2,398 points.[47] This amount translated to 86% of the possible points and the third highest percentage in Heisman history.[46] In addition, Mayfield became the first and only walk-on player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.[47]

"Baker Mayfield rule"Edit

When Mayfield transferred from Texas Tech to Oklahoma after his freshman year, he filed an appeal to the NCAA to allow him to be eligible to play immediately at Oklahoma on the basis that he was a walk-on and not a scholarship player at Texas Tech; therefore, the transfer rules that apply to scholarship players should not be applicable to his situation. The NCAA denied his appeal as he did not meet the criteria. Big 12 Conference rules additionally stipulate that intra-conference transfers will lose one year of eligibility over and beyond the one-year sit-out imposed by the NCAA.[48] Mayfield attempted to appeal his initial loss of eligibility to the Big 12 Conference faculty athletics representatives but was denied in September 2014.[49]

Officials from Oklahoma asked Texas Tech officials to authorize Mayfield's immediate eligibility, but Texas Tech officials objected and declined the request before granting a release in July 2014.[50] Mayfield was thus forced to sit out the 2014 season, while also losing one year of eligibility as required by the rules.[51][52]

On June 1, 2016, the Big 12 faculty athletic representatives voted against a rule proposal that would have allowed walk-on players to transfer within the conference and not lose a year of eligibility. The next day, the rule proposal was amended to allow walk-on players, without a written scholarship offer from the school they are transferring from, to transfer within the conference without losing a season of eligibility. The faculty athletic representatives approved the amended proposal with a vote of 7–3. The rule change made Mayfield eligible to play for Oklahoma through the 2017 season. Texas Tech voted in favor of the rule.[53][54]

College statisticsEdit

Year Team Games Passing Rushing
GP GS Cmp Att Pct Yards Y/Att Long TDs Int Sacked Rating Att Yards Avg TD
2013 Texas Tech 8 5 218 340 64.1 2,315 6.8 60 12 9 24 127.7 88 190 2.2 3
2014 Oklahoma Ineligible to play
2015 Oklahoma 13 13 269 395 68.1 3,700 9.4 76 36 7 39 173.3 141 405 2.9 7
2016 Oklahoma 13 13 254 358 70.9 3,965 11.1 88 40 8 18 196.4 78 177 2.3 6
2017 Oklahoma 14 13 285 404 70.5 4,627 11.5 84 43 6 26 198.9 97 311 3.2 5
Career 48 44 1,026 1,497 68.5 14,607 9.8 88 131 30 107 175.4 404 1,083 2.7 21

Source:[55]

Professional careerEdit

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad Wonderlic
6 ft 0 58 in
(1.84 m)
215 lb
(98 kg)
30 14 in
(0.77 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.84 s 1.72 s 2.84 s 4.28 s 7.00 s 29 in
(0.74 m)
9 ft 3 in
(2.82 m)
25
All values from NFL Scouting Combine[56][57]
 
Mayfield in 2018 training camp

The Cleveland Browns selected Mayfield with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.[58] Mayfield signed a four-year rookie contract with the Browns on July 24, 2018, with the deal worth $32.68 million in guaranteed salary.[59]

2018 season: Rookie yearEdit

 
Mayfield in 2018

Mayfield played in his first NFL game in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football against the New York Jets, replacing an injured Tyrod Taylor, with the Browns down 14–0. He went 17 of 23, passing for 201 yards as the Browns came back and prevailed 21–17, ending their winless streak at 19 games (635 days).[60] In the victory, Mayfield became the first player since Fran Tarkenton in 1961 to not start the game, throw for more than 200 yards, and win the game.[61]

Mayfield started for the first time in the Browns' next game, making him the 30th starting quarterback for the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999,[62] in a 42–45 overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders.[63] In Week 5, Mayfield threw for 342 passing yards and one touchdown as he earned his first victory as a Browns' starter, in 12–9 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.[64] In Week 10, Mayfield led the Browns to a 28–16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. throwing for 216 yards, three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 151.2, with no turnovers.[65] The following week, Mayfield led the Browns to their first road win since the 2015 season, against the Cincinnati Bengals. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns.[66] In Week 12, in a 13–29 loss to the Houston Texans, Mayfield passed for 397 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.[67] Mayfield bounced back in the following game, a 26–20 victory over the Carolina Panthers, going 18 of 22 for 238 passing yards and one touchdown.[68]

In Week 16, Mayfield completed 27 of 37 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in a 26–18 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[69] He also won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week fan vote for the sixth time.[70] On December 29, Mayfield was fined $10,026 for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game. As reported by The Plain Dealer, Mayfield "pretended to expose his private parts" to Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens after throwing a touchdown to tight end Darren Fells. Kitchens later defended the gesture as an inside joke between the two. Mayfield's agent Tom Mills said they would appeal the fine.[71] On December 30, Mayfield threw for 376 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions against the Baltimore Ravens' league-best defense in a 24–26 road loss in the regular season finale. He helped lead the Browns to their most wins in a season since 2014 and fewest losses since 2007.[72]

He finished the season with 3,725 passing yards and surpassed Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson for most touchdowns thrown in a rookie season with 27.[73][74]

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Teams Passing Rushing
Season Team GP GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD
2018 CLE 14 13 310 486 63.8 3,725 7.7 27 14 93.7 39 131 3.4 0
Total 14 13 310 486 63.8 3,725 7.7 27 14 93.7 39 131 3.4 0

Career accomplishmentsEdit

Accolades (College/NFL)Edit

NCAA records/accomplishmentsEdit

  • First walk-on transfer student to win Heisman Trophy[81]
  • NCAA passer rating leader (2017) [203.8][82]
  • 2x NCAA passing efficiency rating leader (2016, 2017) [196.4, 198.9]
  • 2x NCAA yards per attempt leader (2016, 2017) [11.1, 11.5]
  • 2x NCAA adjusted passing yards per attempt leader (2016, 2017) [12.3, 12.9]
  • 2x NCAA pass completion percentage leader (2016, 2017) [70.9, 70.5]
  • NCAA total yards per play leader (2017) [9.9]
  • NCAA TDs responsible for leader (2017) [49]

Oklahoma Sooners football recordsEdit

  • Most career total touchdowns — 137 (119 passing, 18 rushing)
  • Highest career passing completion percentage — 69.8 (tied)
  • Most passing yards in a game — 598[83]
  • Most passing touchdowns in a game — 7

NFL recordsEdit

  • Most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback — 27[84]

Browns franchise recordsEdit

  • Most uninterrupted consecutive games with at least 2 passing touchdowns — 5[85]
  • Most Passing Yards per Game in a season – 266.1[85]
  • Highest QBR for a rookie — 55.7[85]
  • Highest Passer Rating by a rookie — 93.7[85]
  • Highest Completed Pass Percentage by a rookie — 63.8[85]
  • Highest Net Yards per Pass Attempt by a rookie — 6.95[85]
  • Highest Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt by a rookie — 6.77[85]
  • Lowest Percentage of Sacks per Pass Attempt by a rookie — 4.9[85]
  • Most Passing Completions by a rookie — 310[85]
  • Most Passing Yards by a rookie — 3,725[86]
  • Most Passing Yards per Game by a rookie – 266.1[85]
  • Most 4th quarter Comebacks by a rookie — 3[85]
  • Most Game Winning Drives by a rookie — 4[85]
  • Most Passing Yards in a Game by a rookie — 397[85]
  • Most Touchdown Passes in a game by a rookie — 4
  • Most Passing Completions in a game by a rookie — 29 (Done twice, tied with Tim Couch)
  • High Passing Completion Percentage in a game by a rookie — 85.0 (17/20, Week 10)

Personal lifeEdit

In June 2018, Mayfield announced his engagement to Emily Wilkinson, a former patient coordinator for a plastic surgery clinic in Beverly Hills and current Instagram model.[87] Mayfield is close friends with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and 2018 National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich.[88] Baker has an older brother named Matt.[89]

Legal issuesEdit

On February 25, 2017, Mayfield was arrested in Washington County, Arkansas on public intoxication and fleeing charges.[90] The charges included public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing, and resisting arrest. At 2:29 a.m. that Saturday, a police officer was flagged down on an assault and battery report. The person who flagged the officer was yelling at Mayfield. The preliminary police report described Mayfield as unable to walk straight, having slurred speech and food covering the front of his shirt. When he was asked to stay so the police could get a statement, Mayfield began shouting obscenities and "causing a scene". Mayfield was booked at 8:21 a.m. local time on the misdemeanor charges. He had a court date on April 7 for the public intoxication charge, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.[91] On June 15, 2017, the University of Oklahoma ordered Mayfield to undergo 35 hours of community service along with completing an alcohol education program.[92]

ReferencesEdit

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