Quarterback Skyler Howard of West Virginia University, and Baker Mayfield of the University of Oklahoma were both undersized, under-recruited, and perhaps the worst of all under appreciated. That's not all the two have in common. Mayfield and Howard also went to high school just 3 hours apart in Texas. If that's not enough the pair started their college careers as walk-on's after high school didn't bring them the fame and hype so many kids acquire that get offers from AP Top 25 teams like Oklahoma and West Virginia.
At Brewer high school in Fort Worth, Texas Howard (Class of 2013) did enough to be named to the first team all district during his senior season but that along with his career 4,171 passing yards weren't enough to warrant a scholarship from a power 5 conference team. Skyler Howard enrolled at FCS Stephen F. Austin University in the spring of 2013 as a walk-on before deciding it was time for a change.
In fall of 2013 that change was Riverside City College in California. This was a small junior college that provided Howard with the necessary tools to become a Big 12 Recruit. The Fort Worth,Texas native would throw for 3,151 yards and 33 touchdowns at a 67.4 completion percentage. This was much better than his high school percentage of near 52 percent. This was so much better that former WVU offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson and current head coach Dana Holgorsen were interested enough to recruit him to their campus on scholarship.
Baker Mayfield is almost a mirror image of that minus junior college.
Mayfield (Class of 2013) like Howard starred in the powerhouse that is Texas high school football. Mayfield attended one of the most successful teams in the state which is Lake Travis High School. There he won district titles, district MVP awards, and even a state championship where Lake Travis completed a 16-0 year. Additionally he would gain honorable mention to the all-state team. The current Sooner finished his high school career with 6,255 passing yards and 67 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions.
With numbers like those one would think the likes of head coach Jimbo Fisher of Florida State or Nick Saban of Alabama would be begging for Mayfield. This was not the case so the young "gun slinger" took his talents to the one place in Texas he knew they would potentially be appreciated. That place was Texas Tech University.
In 2013 as a walk-on Baker Mayfield would not only play in 8 games but start in 7 of those games on his way to be honorably mentioned for freshman All-Davis Webb held in regard as the favorite Mayfield and his old Lake Travis teammate Michael Brewer would transfer. Brewer headed for Virginia Tech. For Mayfield, Oklahoma was the destination.honors. Mayfield completed 218 of 340 passes for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was also named national player of the week and Big 12 player of the week in that season. That wasn't enough to convince Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury he had a solidified starter. With a crowded quarterback room and
Howard had former WVU standout Clint Trickett and talented freshman William Crest listed ahead of him on the depth chart even after Howard was the only one of the three to participate in spring training. Injury would soon skyrocket Howard into the starting role. Crest was lost and took a medical redshirt before the mid-point of the year while Clint Trickett saw concussions end his football playing career. Howard would step up in contests against Kansas State, Iowa State, and Texas A&M to end the year. Although he finished with a 1-2 record he did not throw an interception and passed for nearly 829 yards including his 346 yard performance versus Texas A&M.
Mayfield had some adversity and triumph as well but his came off the field as well as on it. He had to beat Texas Tech trying to block his transfer to Oklahoma and once that was done he had to prove he was better than former starter Trevor Knight who will have the 2014 Sugar Bowl and Alabama Crimson Tide attached to his name for some time to come. This is for his win and game performance that night that some call sensational.
We learn Baker can dance and not only off the field but on it as well. He's managed 139 yards on the ground and 4 touchdowns. We don't know if Skyler has moves off the field yet but his 88 rushing yards and ability to extend the play says he can break it down on the field just like Baker.
This isn't to take away from their arms. Skyler with his arm alone has out scored his opponents by way of 54-9. While Baker already is in double digits for touchdown passes.
Oh, and if that doesn't convince you of the similarities check the physical measurements and intangibles:
Tale of the Tape
|West Virginia: Skyler Howard||Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield|
|Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas||Hometown: Austin, Texas|
|Class: Junior||Class: Junior|
|Height: 6-0||Height: 6-1|
|Weight: 202||Weight: 209|
|Passing Touchdowns(2015): 9||Passing Touchdowns(2015): 10|
|Passing Yards(2015): 916||Passing Yards(2015): 1062|
|Offense Type: Air Raid||Offense Type: Air Raid|
|Career Starts: 5||Career Starts: 10|