Unfortunately for Bob Stoops, the best signal-caller from the Oklahoma Sooners' spring game won't even be eligible to see the field this fall.
Baker Mayfield, the highly touted walk-on transfer from Texas Tech, stole the limelight from incumbent starter Trevor Knight on Saturday. Mayfield completed nine of nine passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 28-13 win for the White team over Knight's Red team.
At Saturday's spring game, Mayfield showed that not only is he the future of Oklahoma football, but that he's already blending in to the community well. Already a fan favorite, he donned a GoPro camera on his helmet during the spring game.
His actual on-field performance was even more impressive. His drives were methodical, and his throws were precise. His best highlight was a 28-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass to Jordan Smallwood in the start of the second half.
After the game, according to an Oklahoma press release, offensive coordinator and former Oklahoma quarterback Josh Heupel praised Mayfield for his progress in just 14 days:
He’s a guy that’s performing extremely well for the 14th day. In our meeting room, he’s the most experienced guy. Obviously some of that wasn’t here but he performed in a great way. The guys in our program love him and we look forward to him being eligible whenever that is.
On the flip side, Heupel was critical of Knight's performance, saying he didn't read coverages and there he still has plenty of work to do before the fall:
It was a combination of everything. Not seeing the coverage or recognizing it. Today was not his best performance. He’s continued to make strides since the Sugar Bowl. It’s not like he played perfect in the Sugar Bowl, no quarterback is going too. He’s really good but there are things he missed in that game, too. It’s a constant process of continuing to get better and understanding defenses.
Mayfield must sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. So it's pretty much set in stone that Knight, who completed just five of 14 passes for 53 yards and an interception, will be the starter in Norman this fall.
But after Saturday, Sooners fans may be wishing that the former Red Raiders gunslinger was eligible to possibly steal the job from Knight this season.
Mayfield is no stranger to the Big 12. Last year, he started seven games as a true freshman walk-on for the Red Raiders. In Week 1, he earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors after racking up 413 yards and four touchdowns against SMU in what was believed to be the first season-opening start for a walk-on, true freshman at quarterback in FBS history.
He battled injuries throughout the majority of the season and eventually lost the starting job to Davis Webb. Mayfield finished the season with 2,315 yards passing and 12 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Mayfield decided to transfer out of Texas Tech at the end of last season. According to Guerin Emig and Eric Bailey of the Tulsa World, Texas Texas administrators denied his appeal of transfer restrictions that prevented Mayfield from receiving scholarship offers from Big 12 schools, forcing Mayfield to walk-on yet again and hope he gets a scholarship in future seasons.
Because of both NCAA and Big 12 rules, not only will Mayfield be forced to sit this season, but he will lose a year of eligibility, regardless of whether or not he is redshirted. That means he'll have just two years left to play for the Sooners starting in 2015.
But when that time comes, Mayfield may very well be ready to dethrone the MVP of last year's Sugar Bowl and become the next superstar quarterback at Oklahoma, following the likes of Sam Bradford, Landry Jones, Jason White and Heupel, his new offensive coordinator.
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