Oklahoma names Mayfield as starting QB over incumbent Knight

Baker Mayfield emerges as the starting QB despite it being 'a very tight battle.'

Rob Ferguson/Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

NORMAN, Okla. — No. 19 Oklahoma has named Baker Mayfield the starting quarterback over last year’s starter, Trevor Knight.

Coach Bob Stoops made the announcement Monday.

"It’s been a very tight battle among those three guys," Stoops said in a statement. "Baker, Trevor and Cody have all made substantial progress, and I feel we can win with any of them."

Mayfield sat out last season after transferring from Texas Tech. As a freshman walk-on at Tech in 2013, he passed for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games and was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year.

At Oklahoma, Mayfield will run new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley’s Air Raid offense, the same system he ran at Tech. Riley, the former East Carolina offensive coordinator, knew about Mayfield before he took the job at Oklahoma.

"I got a chance to watch Baker as a freshman at Texas Tech," Riley said back in January. "We tried to heck to get him at East Carolina when he left. He’s a very good player."

Knight was the 2014 Sugar Bowl MVP and a key reason the Sooners were No. 4 last preseason. He started last season strong, but his downward spiral started with some critical mistakes late in a loss to TCU. He struggled against Baylor before being injured and sitting out the next three games. He returned for the bowl loss to Clemson and completed 13 of 37 passes for 103 yards with three interceptions to cap Oklahoma’s disappointing 8-5 season. Knight has started 15 games at Oklahoma, with career totals of 3,119 yards passing and 784 rushing.

Cody Thomas will be the No. 3 quarterback. In his best game last season, against Texas Tech, he completed 10 of 20 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown and ran eight times for 103 yards.