Plenty of athletes play with a chip on their shoulder, but Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield may be in a class of his own. His whole career is built around proving his doubters wrong.
You think he can’t play college ball? Fine. He’ll walk on at Texas Tech and Oklahoma and embarrass every school that passed on him. You doubt that he’ll measure up with the best college programs? Okay. He’ll just win the Heisman Award, Big 12 Championship, and a spot in the College Football Playoff, all in one season. Do you now laugh at the idea of him thriving at the pro level? Go ahead. Keep doubting him – we’ve seen how this story ends and you’re just more fuel to his fire.
We got a chance to sit down with one of the most decorated players in college football history as he preps for the next step in his career. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Take us back to the end of your high school career. Few colleges are offering you scholarships and you weren’t getting the respect you felt you deserved. Did those slights serve as motivation?
A: “Oh, definitely. I grew up in the backyard of the University of Texas. And in Texas, high school football is pretty serious. Our team was really good and I thought I’d get some recognition. Instead I chose to walk on at Texas Tech. It was the best option for me, partly because of in-state tuition, but also because they gave me a chance to play all the teams that didn’t recruit me.”
Q: Let’s fast forward to your time at Oklahoma. You’ve had all these accomplishments and accolades, what are you most proud of?
A: “For me, it’s not about any stat or win, it’s about getting chance to play at the school I dreamed of playing at. There are relationships I’ve built throughout that whole process, through all the ups and downs – those people were always with me. To me that’s what it’s all about. That, and inspiring others.”
Q: Some people out there call you polarizing. Do you think that’s true?
A: “No. I’m just a normal guy. I can sit there and have a normal conversation with anyone. I think it’s just rare for people to be completely honest and up front about who they are. But that’s how I am.”
Q: Who was your favorite player growing up?
A: “Well, baseball was my first true love. I was a big fan of Michael Young, who played for Texas for a long time. When it came to football, it was Brett Favre – always. He just had such a passion for the game and had so much fun with it. Plus, he was a winner.”
Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
A: I am the worst basketball player you’ve probably ever seen. I consider myself a good athlete, but basketball is just not my thing. I can do Pop-A-Shot though.”
Q: Okay, final one. Speak directly to the team and fans that draft you – what are they getting when Baker Mayfield walks into that locker room?
A: “First and foremost, you’re getting a winner. You’re getting a leader – and it doesn’t matter who is in that locker room – I’m going to be energetic and passionate about the game. I love it and I’m going to be that guy who puts it all on the line for his team.”