The voting wasn’t close. Baker’s 2,398 voting points and 732 first-place votes destroyed that of the man who finished in second, Stanford running back Bryce Love, who tallied 1,300 points and 75 first-place votes.
The award marked a meteoric rise from a walk-on at Texas Tech in 2013 to the nation’s best player four years later at Oklahoma.
Looking back on his unexpected journey brought him to tears during his acceptance speech.
Baker Mayfield got choked up while thanking Lincoln Riley and his parents pic.twitter.com/eQf16E7MpM
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) December 10, 2017
“Coach (Bob) Stoops, you welcomed a chubby, unathletic kid into the program with open arms,” Mayfield said of the former Sooners head coach, who retired before the 2017 season. “I wouldn’t say that many would do that, but thank you. The thing that I’m most thankful for is hiring coach (Lincoln) Riley. The day you did that changed my life.
“Coach Riley, you’ve been a great mentor to me. We’ve been through a lot together, so I appreciate you.
“To my family, love you guys. There were times that I had to move. You guys have made sacrifice after sacrifice just so I could chase my dreams, wouldn’t be here without you. Love you.
“Sacrifice after sacrifice you guys have instilled a mentality in me of loyalty and how to have a family that’s second to none, and I appreciate that.”
Mayfield has put bonkers numbers in his senior season: 4,340 passing yards with 41 touchdowns and five interceptions, completing 71 percent of his passes in 13 games.
As the No. 2 seed, his 12-1 Sooners will take on the 12-1 Georgia Bulldogs in the Rose Bowl in the first round of the College Football Playoff.