Baker Mayfield's Heisman Trophy candidacy off to rough start after arrest
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, was expected to be one of the leading contenders to win the award in 2017.
Even though we’re still weeks away from the start of spring practice across the country, Mayfield’s candidacy took a considerable hit when he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
In total, he’s facing four misdemeanor charges. Fortunately, Mayfield didn’t do anything that qualified as a felony. Nevertheless, while the police report reads like typical college hijinks that simply went too far — slurred speech, food on his clothes, getting tackled by an officer — it’s not a good look for the Sooners.
Mayfield’s court date in Washington County (Arkansas) is April 7. OU’s spring game, by the way, is scheduled for April 8.
After transferring from Texas Tech, Mayfield unseated future Texas A&M QB Trevor Knight for the starting job at Oklahoma in 2015 and became a star. He was a 68.1-percent passer with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 36-to-7.
He finished fourth in the Heisman voting that year — Alabama running back Derrick Henry was the winner — and then came in third last season. Mayfield’s completion percentage improved to 70.9, plus his TD-to-INT ratio was an equally prolific 40-to-8. His efficiency rating of 196.4 was tops in the nation.
With Mayfield returning to Norman for his senior campaign, the Sooners are Big 12 favorites and again in the mix for the College Football Playoff.
Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield arrested in Arkansas. pic.twitter.com/KpQDCdZ6hK
— Barrett Sallee (@BarrettSallee) February 25, 2017
Once his lawyer earns his money in the Razorback State, there’s no reason to think Mayfield is in serious trouble. More than likely, he’ll be slapped with a fine, some probation and a good bit of community service.
That being said, this episode could sour his name among Heisman voters — I’m one of them, for what it’s worth. The award does more than simply recognize the best player in America. Watch lists from coast to coast do little more than compare numbers, but voters are at least asked to consider off-the-field behavior, too.
According to the award’s official website, the mission statement for the Heisman Trust goes beyond touchdowns and tackles:
“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust’s mission is to ensure the continuation and integrity of this award.”
On the field, Mayfield has indeed been an outstanding college football player and surely will be again in 2017. However, it’s fair to question his integrity after he allegedly (and drunkenly) yelled profanities at cops and then tried to flee the scene.
As a Florida State alumnus, I’m well aware of the fact that former Seminoles signal caller Jameis Winston won the Heisman — in a landslide, you’ll recall — in the midst of an allegation of sexual assault, even if he was never charged with a crime. He’s not the only past winner with character that can considered questionable, either.
Still, when you combine this incident with a history of voter fatigue when repeat candidates are involved, Mayfield’s Heisman glass ceiling just got thicker.