Baker Mayfield has gone from two-time walk-on to the unanimous pick as the Big 12 Conference offensive player of the year.
Oklahoma’s junior quarterback is among a league-high seven players from the playoff-bound and league champion Sooners on The Associated Press All-Big 12 first team released Wednesday after voting by members of the media who cover the league.
Mayfield has thrown for 3,389 yards with a league-high 35 touchdowns in his first season starting for the Sooners, who play No. 1 Clemson in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve. He had to sit out last year after walking on as a transfer from Texas Tech, where as a freshman in 2013 he was the first walk-on true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for a BCS team.
After winning their ninth Big 12 title, the fourth-ranked Sooners have four first-team picks on offense and three more on defense. That includes sophomore running back Samaje Perine (108 yards rushing per game, Big 12-best 15 TDs), a repeat first-teamer a year after he was the league’s top offensive newcomer.
All of Oklahoma’s record nine Big 12 championships have come under Bob Stoops, who is the first four-time winner as AP Big 12 coach of the year. He had last won that award in 2006, the year the Sooners won the first of three consecutive Big 12 titles. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder has won the honor three times.
Oklahoma State junior defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is the league’s defensive player of the year with 13 sacks. He was a unanimous pick at his position, and got 16 of the 20 votes for top defender — the other four going to Baylor junior defensive tackle Andrew Billings.
Ogbah and Billings are All-Big 12 first-teamers for the second year in row, as are two Oklahoma defenders — linebacker Erik Striker and cornerback Zack Sanchez, whose six interceptions matched for the league lead.
Texas Tech offensive tackle Le’Raven Clark is a first-team pick for the third consecutive season. A pair of Baylor teammates — left tackle Spencer Drango and receiver Corey Coleman — joined Perine as repeat first-teamers on offense.
Coleman, the only unanimous pick on offense other than Mayfield, was a first-team receiver with TCU senior Josh Doctson. Coleman and Doctson were also the first-team picks on the AP All-America team released earlier this week.
Doctson set TCU single-season records with 79 catches, 1,327 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns, even while missing all of two games and most of two others because of a broken left wrist. Coleman, who plans to bypass his senior season with the Bears for early entry in the NFL draft, had an FBS-best 20 touchdown catches and a league-high 1,363 yards receiving.
Baylor had five first-team picks and the Horned Frogs four. They joined Oklahoma as the only teams with first-team picks on offense and defense.
Baylor’s other first-team picks were senior guard Jarell Broxton and cornerback Xavien Howard. TCU teammates with Doctson on the first team were also seniors — center Joey Hunt, safety Derrick Kindred and kicker Jaden Oberkrom.
All three of Oklahoma State’s first-team picks were defenders: Ogbah, linebacker Jordan Burton and safety Jordan Sterns. Texas Tech’s three first-teamers were on the offensive side: Clark, Big 12 rushing leader DeAndre Washington (121 yards per game), and all-purpose player Jakeem Grant, a receiver and kick returner.
Kansas State (defensive tackle Will Geary), Texas (linebacker Peter Jinkens) and West Virginia (punter Nick O’Toole) each had one selection. Neither Iowa State or winless Kansas had a first-teamer.
The annual AP All-Big 12 team was selected by a 20-member media panel representing each of the conference’s five states.