— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) December 6, 2016
Oklahoma’s offense sizzled in 2016 behind the leadership of junior quarterback Baker Mayfield and speed of senior receiver Dede Westbrook. Now the two have earned a trip to New York City, to celebrate their success, as Heisman Trophy finalists.
In a season where the Sooners’ running backs were set to be the show stoppers, it was actually Mayfield who progressed, due in large part to the attention given to Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, leaps and bounds. Throwing for 3,669 yards and 38 touchdowns, to only eight interceptions, Mayfield led the country in pass efficiency rating with his 197.8, completion percentage (71.2) and yards per attempt (11.1).
Westbrook continued the tradition of electrifying receivers at Oklahoma while serving as Mayfield’s primary target. His 16 receiving touchdowns is a school record and ranks second among the Power Five Conference players. His 1,465 receiving yards rank him fifth nationally and his average of 122.1 receiving yards per game rank him fourth in the country.
While it’s likely that Louisville’s Lamar Jackson will bring home the hardware from The Big Apple, the fact that Oklahoma has two Heisman Finalists in Lincoln Riley’s second season, as offensive coordinator, bodes well for recruiting, and sets up Mayfield as a possible Heisman front-runner next season.
Oklahoma becomes the first program to send two Heisman Finalists to New York City on multiple occasions. Both have happened under Bob Stoops (Jason White and Adrian Peterson went in 2004) who has now produced seven finalists in his eighteen seasons as Oklahoma’s coach.