Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Baker Mayfield Named Burlsworth Trophy Finalist

One year after winning the award, Oklahoma redshirt junior quarterback Baker Mayfield was named Tuesday as one of three finalists for the 2016 Burlsworth Trophy, issued by the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club to college football's most outstanding player who began his career as a walk-on.

Mayfield joins Washington State quarterback Luke Falk and Northwestern receiver Austin Carr as finalists. The trio was chosen from a field of 52 nominees from across the nation that last week was narrowed to 10 semifinalists.

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The Sooner signal caller has been even more effective this year than he was last season when he finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. Mayfield, who completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns against only seven interceptions last year, is 214-for-296 (career-high 72.0 percent) this season with 33 TDs and seven picks. He ranks first nationally in passing efficiency rating (195.2; the NCAA single-season record is 191.8) and yards per pass attempt (10.9; only two other players are above 10.0), second in completion percentage, fifth in passing TDs (33) and sixth in points responsible for per game (22.6).

Mayfield has been especially effective in Big 12 play, leading the league in passing TDs (26; Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes ranks second with 20), completion percentage (.749; Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph is next at .671) and pass efficiency rating (207.1; Rudolph ranks second at 170.9 and West Virginia's Skyler Howard is third at 142.7). He has thrown for 345.6 yards per league contest and has also run for 127 yards and four scores during the stretch.

Mayfield, who began his career at Texas Tech as a walk-on before transferring to OU, also as a walk-on, accounted for at least four touchdowns in six straight games from the Oct. 1 TCU contest through the Nov. 3 Iowa State game.

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Four games ago against Texas Tech, the school at which he played as a freshman, Mayfield set OU single-game records for total offense with 563 yards (545 pass, 19 rush) and touchdown passes with seven in the Sooners’ 66-59 victory. His passing yards were the second most ever by a Sooner, just nine yards shy of Landry Jones’ school record.

For the purposes of the award, a walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with an FBS program without financial aid of any kind from his university's athletics department.

The Burlsworth Trophy is named in honor of former University of Arkansas walk-on offensive lineman Brandon Burlsworth, who became a three-year Razorback starter and was eventually named an All-American in 1998. Burlsworth was selected 63rd overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1999 NFL Draft but was tragically killed in a car accident 11 days later. The Burlsworth Foundation was created in his memory and supports the physical and spiritual needs of children, in particular those who have limited opportunities.

Finalists will be honored and the winner will be announced Dec. 5 at a banquet in Springdale, Ark.

/// SoonerSports PR

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