Baker Mayfield is an inspiration for walk-ons everywhere.

He’s Rudy with a lot more talent.

After walking on at Texas Tech and eventually getting beat out for the starting quarterback job, Mayfield came to Oklahoma as a non-scholarship player. He played on an intramural softball team before joining the Sooners’ football team.

Mayfield not only won the starting job over returner Trevor Knight, he emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the country while leading the Sooners to the Big 12 championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff.

For his remarkable season, Mayfield is the Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 offensive player of the year.

“I think it’s fair that he’s in that talk with other great players around the country,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “He’s earned it with numbers and success on the field.”

Mayfield has completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 3,389 yards and 35 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He can also create plays with his legs as he’s rushed for 420 yards and seven touchdowns.

“He’s just a guy that plays with a lot of confidence,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “He’s very accurate, can use his feet, tough kid. He’s a good football player. I respect his journey a bunch from where he was three years ago to where he is today.”

Remarkably, Mayfield was overlooked out of high school despite leading Lake Travis to a 25-2 record over his last two seasons.

During his junior year, Mayfield guided Lake Travis to a 16-0 record and the Class 4A championship as he passed for 3,788 yards and 45 touchdowns.

Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech where he passed for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games as a freshman in 2013. But after Davis Webb beat him out for a start in the Holiday Bowl, Mayfield decided to transfer to Oklahoma.

Mayfield attended Oklahoma as a non-football playing student during the spring of 2014 when he became an intramural softball sensation. He didn’t even immediately tell the Oklahoma football coaches that he was on campus.

Since Texas Tech blocked Mayfield’s appeal for immediate eligibility in the fall of 2014, he sat out and lost a year of eligibility. But the NCAA ruled that Oklahoma could put Mayfield on scholarship in October 2014, and he spent last season on the scout team.

Mayfield won the starting quarterback job before the Sooners’ season opener and has made history.

“It’s exceptional with his confidence just to have come here in the first place,” Stoops said. “That tells you all you need to know about his personality. The way he’s been able to play and the players around him has really been exceptional. I keep saying it, what he’s done has been great.”


Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye was famously nicknamed the Nigerian Nightmare for his fearless running style.

Emmanuel Ogbah has been a nightmare for Big 12 offenses.

The Nigerian born Ogbah has been the league’s best pass rusher over the last two seasons for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

After collecting 11 sacks as a junior, Ogbah produced a league high 13 this season to earn the Tribune-Herald’s Big 12 defensive player of the year.

“He’s physically very gifted,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “He’s long. He’s 6-4, 275, he’s big to be on the edge, and plays with this tremendous amount of effort and attitude.”

Ogbah moved to Texas when he was 9 and began playing football in seventh grade. Though he was a finalist for greater Houston defensive player of the year as a senior at Bush High School, he wasn’t one of the most highly recruited players in the area.

He chose Oklahoma State after high school teammate and Nigerian Russell Okung signed with the Cowboys. Okung became an All-American for Oklahoma State and has gone on to become a Pro Bowl player for the Seattle Seahawks.

After recording four sacks as a redshirt freshman in 2013, Ogbah showed he was a force to be reckoned with when he sacked Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston twice in the 2014 season opener.

Ogbah went on to become an all-Big 12 defensive lineman last season with his 11 sacks, 17 tackles for loss and five pass breakups.

Ogbah has been even more dominating this season, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy likes to sit back and watch him do his thing.

“When he’s in that mode, he’s difficult to handle at this level,” Gundy told USA Today. “When it’s third-and-whatever, and he’s bringing it, I like to watch him because he’s pretty dominating. I know there’s a chance he might get there and they might not get the ball off.”

This could be the Oklahoma State junior’s final college season since he’s projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick.

“Someday, whenever that may be, this year or next year, somebody’s going to get a big-time player,” Gundy said. “They’re going to be glad they have him on the roster.”


Some Oklahoma fans were so upset by the Sooners’ 2014 season that they were ready to run Bob Stoops out of the state.

The Sooners finished 8-5 and were chased out of Norman by Baylor, 48-14, and clobbered by Clemson, 40-6, in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

But with quarterback Baker Mayfield and a superb defense leading the way, Oklahoma was back on top this season. The Sooners’ tremendous season makes Stoops the Big 12 coach of the year.

Not only did the Sooners win their first Big 12 title since their 2012 co-championship, they became the first team from the league to make the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma will face Clemson in the national semifinals on Dec. 31.

Oklahoma’s season could have easily fell apart after a 24-17 loss to Texas. But the Sooners bounced back with seven straight wins, including road wins over Baylor and Oklahoma State.

The Sooners clinched the title in triumphant fashion with a 58-23 blowout of the Cowboys in Stillwater.


Few great Oklahoma schoolboy running backs make it out of the state to play college football, but Mike Warren is one of them.

The talented back from Lawton rushed for 2,512 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior in 2013, and showed this season that he could produce at a high level at Iowa State.

Warren finished the season with 1,339 yards rushing to earn Big 12 offensive newcomer of the year.

The redshirt freshman ranked third in the Big 12 in rushing for the full season, but during conference play he led all rushers with 1,185 yards in nine games. He led all freshmen across the country in season rushing yardage.


Great things were expected of Malik Jefferson when he signed with Texas out of Mesquite Poteet High School.

It didn’t take long for Jefferson to show what everybody was so excited about as he earned Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year with his inspired play.

Jefferson collected 61 tackles including seven for loss and 2½ sacks as a true freshman. He also broke up three passes and recovered a fumble.

Jefferson came to Texas with high accolades after winning the high school Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. He should anchor Texas’ defense for years to come.


Offensive player of the year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Defensive player of the year: Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State

Top offensive newcomer: Mike Warren, Iowa State

Top defensive newcomer: Malik Jefferson, Texas

Coach of the year: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma

QBBaker MayfieldJrOklahoma6-22093,389 yards passing, 35 TDs
RBSamaje PerineSoOklahoma5-112431,291 yards rushing, 15 TDs
RBDeAndre WashingtonSrTexas Tech5-8182League-high 1,455 yards, 14 TDs
OLSpencer DrangoSrBaylor6-6310Outland Trophy finalist
OLLe’Raven ClarkSrTexas Tech6-6307Returning all-Big 12 OT
OLNila KasitatiSrOklahoma6-4315Powerful interior lineman
OLCody WhitehairSrKansas State6-4305Leader of Wildcat O-line
OLJoey HuntSrTCU6-3295Returning all-Big 12 lineman
WRCorey ColemanJrBaylor5-11190Nation’s best 20 TD catches
WRJosh DoctsonSrTCU6-419079 catches, 1,327 yards
WRSterling ShepardSrOklahoma5-1019579 catches, 1,201 yards
APMorgan BurnsSrKansas State5-112014 kickoff return TDs
KJaden OberkromSrTCU6-318717 of 21 field goals
DLEmmanuel OgbahJrOklahoma State6-4275League-high 13 sacks
DLAndrew BillingsJrBaylor6-230014 tackles for loss
DLCharles TapperSrOklahoma6-4281Collected 7 sacks
DLJordan WillisJrKansas State6-525013.5 tackles for loss
LBEric StrikerSrOklahoma6-022116 tackles for loss
LBDominique AlexanderJrOklahoma6-022791 tackles
LBPete RobertsonSrTexas Tech6-324313.5 tackles for loss
DBZack SanchezJrOklahoma5-111797 breakups, 6 ints
DBXavien HowardJrBaylor6-22009 breakups, 5 ints
DBJordan ThomasSoOklahoma6-11835 interceptions, 1 TD
DBDaryl WorleyJrWest Virginia6-219812 breakups, 6 ints
PNick O’TooleSrWest Virginia6-3228Big 12-high 45.7 average
QBTrevone BoykinSrTCU6-22053,575 yards, 31 TDs
RBShock LinwoodJrBaylor5-91951,329 yards, 10 TDs
RBWendell SmallwoodJrWest Virginia5-112011,447 yards, 9 TDs
OLH. VaitaiSrTCU6-6308Dominating lineman
OLJarell BroxtonSrBaylor6-53302-year starter
OLTyler OrloskyJrWest Virginia6-4297Led Mountaineer line
OLKyle FullerJrBaylor6-5305All-around blocker
OLTy DarlingtonSrOklahoma6-2286Academic Heisman winner
WRJakeem GrantSrTexas Tech5-7170League-high 80 catches
WRJames WashingtonSoOklahoma State6-020020.7 yards per catch
WRKD CannonSoBaylor6-0175Home run threat
APKaVontae TurpinFrTCU5-9165Dynamic return man
KJosh LambertJrWest Virginia5-1121518 of 25 field goals
DLDale PiersonSrIowa State6-22468.5 sacks
DLNoble NwachukwuJrWest Virginia6-227113 tackles for loss
DLShawn OakmanSrBaylor6-927514.5 tackles for loss
DLDavion PiersonSrTCU6-2305Anchored TCU line
LBPeter JinkensSrTexas6-1237Led Texas 75 tackles
LBJordan EvansJrOklahoma6-3223Led OU 79 tackles
LBNick KwiatkoskiSrWest Virginia6-2235Topped WV 80 tackles
DBAhmad ThomasJrOklahoma6-020968 tackles
DBJordan SternsJrOklahoma State6-1205Led OSU 103 tackles
DBKarl JosephSrWest Virginia5-11197Injury shortened season
DBFish SmithsonJrKansas5-11193Led Big 12 111 tackles
PAustin SeibertFrOklahoma5-1019542.4 yards per punt

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