Saturday night, Oklahoma quarterback Bakey Mayfield made history by becoming the first walk-on player to win the Heisman Trophy since the NCAA began allowing athletic scholarship in 1950.
Stanford running back Bryce Love was the runner-up, making it five second-place finishes for the Cardinal since 2009. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, last year’s Heisman winner, was third, the best finish by a returning winner since Tim Tebow of Florida in 2008.
Mayfield, 22, directed the nation’s most productive offense, averaging 583.3 yards a game while leading the Sooners to another Big 12 title and a Rose Bowl date with Georgia in the College Football Playoff. His passing numbers were impressive enough — 4,340 yards with 41 touchdowns to just five interceptions and a 71% completion rate.
For Mayfield, whose college career began when he walked onto Texas Tech’s team, it was a night of feats as he also went on to become the first senior to win the Heisman since 2006 when Troy Smith took it home.
“This is unbelievable for me, being up here among these greats,” Mayfield said as he accepted his award in the mids of past Heisman winners onstage. “It’s something that words can’t even describe. God has put me in this position that I’m so blessed, and a lot of times I wonder why. But it’s such an honor to be up here. It’s unbelievable.”