Another Sooners' Sweep
|OU Big 12 Athletes of the Year|
|2017-18||Baker Mayfield (Football)
Maggie Nichols (Women's Gymnastics)
|2015-16||Buddy Hield (Men's Basketball)
Paige Parker (Softball)
|2014-15||Lauren Chamberlain (Softball)|
|2012-13||Keilani Ricketts (Softball)|
|2008-09||Sam Bradford (Football)|
|2003-04||Jason White (Football)|
|2001-02||Stacey Dales (Women's Basketball)|
|2000-01||Josh Heupel (Football)|
NORMAN — The announcement of two major individual Big 12 Conference awards Thursday capped yet another banner year for Oklahoma Athletics. Gymnast Maggie Nichols and former OU football player Baker Mayfield were named the 2017-18 Big 12 Athletes of the Year, marking the second Sooners sweep of the awards in the last three years.
Ten Sooners have now been named Big 12 Athlete of the Year in the 22-year history of the league, including six in the last six years. Former basketball player Buddy Hield and former softball player Paige Parker swept the awards for OU in the 2015-16 season.
In addition to Nichols, Mayfield, Hield and Parker, OU's Lauren Chamberlain (2014-15; softball), Keilani Ricketts (2012-13; softball), Sam Bradford (2008-09; football), Jason White (2003-04; football), Stacey Dales (2001-02; women's basketball) and Josh Heupel (2000-01; football) have been named Big 12 Athlete of the Year.
Nominees for this year's Big 12 Athlete of the Year awards were submitted by Big 12 institutions and selected by a media panel based on athletic performance, academic achievement and citizenship. Fan voting conducted via Big12Sports.com also was a consideration in the final tallies.
Nichols, the first gymnast to ever be named Big 12 Athlete of the Year, achieved numerous accolades for the Sooners in 2018. Most notably, the sophomore was the NCAA all-around champion and co-individual national champion on bars and the floor exercise. Nichols tied the NCAA Championships record in the all-around with a 39.8125 score. The sophomore is tied for most individual titles in OU history with four. She earned five All-America accolades in 2018 (first-team on bars, beam, floor and all-around; second-team on vault).
The Little Canada, Minnesota, native guided the Sooners to 14 consecutive weeks of being ranked No. 1 nationally and a 13-1 regular season record. OU won its seventh straight Big 12 title and ninth consecutive NCAA regional before finishing as NCAA runner-up. For a second consecutive year, Nichols was a finalist for the Honda Sport Award.
The 2018 Big 12 Gymnast of the Year and 2018 South Central Region Gymnast of the Year, Nichols set an NCAA record with an all-around regional qualifying score of 39.830. She secured five All-Big 12 accolades, becoming just the second gymnast in Big 12 history to achieve the feat in multiple seasons.
Nichols, who now owns 15 career perfect scores, recorded eight scores of 10.0 or better in 2018. She holds the OU record for most perfect marks in a season, besting her 2017 total of seven. She became the first gymnast in NCAA history to record a "Gym Slam," which is a perfect 10 on every event, in back-to-back years.
Nichols was honored with other survivors with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPYS last week. She went public in early January as "Athlete A" — the first gymnast to come forward about the sexual abuse inflicted by Larry Nassar. The abuse began when she was 15 years old, when she was a rising star on the United States national team aiming for a spot at the Olympics.
Just days before the 2018 season began, Nichols chose to let the world know that she too was a victim, releasing her statement to the public. Her incredible courage and bravery has led Nichols to become an inspiration to her peers and thousands of little girls who have looked up to her since her days as a national team member.
Mayfield earned 2017 unanimous first-team All-America honors and won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award, Manning Award, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, and was named AP Player of the Year and Sporting News Player of the Year as the Sooners went 12-2, won the Big 12 title and were the No. 2 seed in the College Football Playoff.
He set the single-season OU record with four Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week awards, and led the FBS in completion percentage (.705), points responsible for (296) and yards per pass attempt (11.5). Mayfield broke his own FBS single-season record for passing efficiency rating (198.9), and set another school single-season record with his 4,938 yards of total offense. He finished second in OU single-season annals in completion percentage and touchdown passes (43) while ranking third in passing yards (4,627).
His most prolific performance of the year came in a 62-52 win at Oklahoma State when he set program records with 598 passing yards (387 in first half also set an OU standard) and 589 yards of total offense while throwing for five touchdowns on 24-of-36 passing and rushing for another score.
Mayfield's list of career accomplishments and accolades reads like a novel. The two-time Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and two-time first-team All-American is the Big 12 career record-holder for yards per pass attempt (9.7), touchdowns responsible for (153) and consecutive games with at least one TD pass (40). He set the OU career record for completion percentage (.698), passing efficiency rating (189.4), TDs responsible for (138) and pass attempt streak with no interceptions (200), and ranks second in FBS history in passing efficiency rating (175.4), third in yards per attempt, fourth in TD passes (131) and fifth in total offense (15,690 yards).
The two-time walk-on from Austin, Texas, also led OU to 34-6 overall and 25-2 Big 12 records the last three years, while guiding the Sooners to three Big 12 titles as well as the Orange Bowl (CFP), Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl (CFP).
In April, Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He joined defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon (1976), running back Billy Sims (1980) and quarterback Sam Bradford (2010) as Oklahoma players to go No. 1 overall.