Mayfield was sublime in that 2016 season, making a trip to NY as a Heisman finalist, but in 2017, he was next-level great, running an offense that exceeded an already historic yards per play in 2016 by a full yard in 2017, and leading Oklahoma to its second berth in the College Football Playoff.
Mayfield, reigning Heisman victor Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Stanford running back Bryce Love were chosen as finalists for the 83rd Heisman Trophy on Monday night. He was in Atlanta for the ESPN's college football awards show at the Hall of Fame.
As for Mayfield, he won't be winning any awards for sportsman of the year, but when measured by pure analytics, he was the best player on the field in 2017.
Mayfield, though, will come to Manhattan as the clear favorite. There's a career achievement feeling here as well, with Mayfield finishing fourth in the 2015 Heisman voting and third last season. However, since they began inviting finalists to the award ceremony in 1982, Jackson becomes the sixth former victor to be invited back as a finalist the next season.
Mayfield, Love and Jackson are also the finalists for the Heisman, which will be handed out Saturday night in NY.
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Darnold didn't get invited to NY as a finalist. No other school has had more than two players win AP Player of the Year.
Mayfield returns to NY, where he finished third in the 2016 voting and will likely become the first candidate to win the award after being selected as a finalist the previous season since USC's Reggie Bush in 2005.
This season, Mayfield has led the No. 2 Sooners (12-1) to the Big 12 championship and the College Football Playoff. While Louisville closed on a high note, they entered November with a 5-4 record and Jackson was forced to play out the final games of his season out of the spotlight. With a decent bowl game, he will also exceed his total passing and rushing yards from last season. "They both had great seasons and deserve this tremendous honor". "Obviously I'm very happy and thankful that I'm being recognized with this". There has only been one: Ohio State running back Archie Griffin in 1974 and 1975.
Love is second in the nation in rushing at 164.42 yards per game and is averaging 8.32 yards per carry for the 15th-ranked Cardinal. He set an FBS record with 12 runs of at least 50 yards or more. That's San Diego State's Rashaad Penny (2,027), who also leads in yards from scrimmage with 2,169. Against Nevada three weeks ago, he scored on a rush, a kickoff return and a punt return.