That all changed Saturday night as the fifth-year Sooners senior won the 2017 Heisman Trophy, marking Mayfeld's first win in his second appearance in New York. Stanford running back Bryce Love finished second in the voting with the reigning Heisman winner, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, finishing third. Love is the sixth Stanford player to finish second in the finalist era.
Here's how the rest of the Heisman contenders ranked in the final voting ...
Mayfield received 2,398 points in all and 86 percent of the total possible points, the third-highest percentage all time. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith had the highest percentage of points 2006 at 91.6 percent. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota had the second-highest percentage with 90.9 in 2014.
Heisman Trophy 1st place votes: Baker Mayfield 732, Bryce Love 75, Lamar Jackson 47, Saquon Barkley 15, Rashaad Penny 7, McKenzie Milton 4, Roquan Smith 3, Jonathan Taylor & Mason Rudolph 2.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 10, 2017
Mayfield became the first Heisman winner to start his career as a walk-on since athletic scholarships were created in the 1950s. He is also the first senior to win the Heisman since Smith in 2006. Mayfield is the sixth Heisman winner from Oklahoma, the first since Sooners quarterback Sam Bradford won the award in 2008. Oklahoma now moves into second all-time for most Heisman winners by a single school. Notre Dame and Ohio State each have the most with seven.
Mayfield finished third as a finalist last year and fourth in the voting in 2015, making him the first player to finish inside the top four in three straight years since Georgia RB Herschel Walker (1980-82).
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley took home the so-called "September Heisman," and Arizona Khalil Tate even got some Heisman consideration in October, but it became apparent throughout November that Mayfield was the player to beat when it mattered most.
Mayfield helped the Sooners get a signature win over Oklahoma State in which he threw for nearly 600 yards and five touchdowns. If that game launched Mayfield to the top of the Heisman race, Oklahoma's two victories over TCU, including one in the Big 12 Championship Game, cemented his place. In two appearances against the Big 12's best defense statistically, Mayfield compiled 576 passing yards and seven touchdowns.
Mayfield finished the 2017 season with 4,340 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns and 4,650 total yards of offense, all of which rank fourth-best all-time among Heisman winners. However, those were career-high numbers for Mayfield, who has amassed 15,398 yards of offense since his freshman season at Texas Tech in 2013.