“He attacked It like he was meant to be the starter from day one. Every drill we did, he tried to win it. QB drill, throwing contest, anytime he got a rep, he was trying to make the most of it. It wasn’t your typical true freshman coming in, a walk-on just happy to be here. I mean, he was on a mission from day one.” -Kliff Kingsberry on walk-on freshman starter Baker Mayfield
Mayfield is not a typical walk-on in the sense that he did not come to an open try-out on horse back and astound Kingsberry like a football version of Roy Hobbs. He played for Lake Travis High School, a prestigious program that has produced five consecutive Division l quarterbacks. He led Lake Travis to a state title and put up impressive numbers. By any standard, Mayfield was a preferred walk-on and Texas Tech fortunate to have him. That said, he should not have had a realistic expectation of being the game one starter in Lubbock, but he was.
The “how?” is explained in Kingsberry’s quote. Mayfield prepared himself mentally to be the starter, and brought that mindset to the field every day and every play. The result was a consistent delivery of high level performance that distinguished himself from the rest of the quarterbacks on the depth chart and won the trust of his coaches. It is a testament to the power of mindset and self-determination. A model for all aspiring athletes.