Baker Mayfield teaches 'Horns Down' gesture at football camp
Never change, Baker Mayfield.
The Cleveland Browns star and former Heisman winner at Oklahoma traveled back to his roots this week, hosting a football camp at Lake Travis High in Austin, Texas, where dozens of campers learned nuggets about quarterbacking and a little something extra involving the Sooners' rivalry with the Longhorns.
With campers huddled around him, Mayfield reportedly flashed the "Horns Down" hand gesture with a hearty "Boomer Sooner" to kick-off the event at his old stomping grounds. Mayfield was known for his 'Horns Down' moments throughout his career at Oklahoma, doing so during a 45-40 win over Texas during the 2016 season and bringing back the hand-sign last year at a Sooners basketball game vs. the Longhorns.
“It’s quite the honor to be back home and have this,” Mayfield said, via The Statesman. “But I think the best part about it is that we had some kids yell ‘Boomer Sooner’ that normally wouldn’t.”
The "Horns Down" gesture has been a controversial topic for years and hit arguably its highest moment last season during Oklahoma's run to another Big 12 Championship. Conference officials placed the gesture under the unsportsmanlike conduct classification and warned the Sooners prior to the Big 12 final it would result in a penalty.
Texas coach Tom Herman was not a fan of the "Horns Down" prodding and made his thoughts known publicly before the final showdown vs. the Sooners. After beating Texas 39-27 to clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley tossed a "Horns Down" during the post-game celebratory photo.
All in good fun, Mayfield was back at Lake Travis where he set several program records before walking on a Texas Tech, where he became the first true freshman walk-on in FBS history to start a season opener at quarterback.
“I think it goes back to the fact that if you looked at me, I wasn’t going to be an NFL player. I just set my mind to it,” Mayfield said, via The Statesman. “It was something that I dreamed of doing, and I just really worked for it. These kids, it doesn’t matter what they want to do in life. It doesn’t have to be an athlete. Just work for it. You set your mind to something, and you’ve got to set your goals high.”
After leaving Texas Tech for Oklahoma, Mayfield threw for 4,627 yards and 43 touchdowns in his final season with the Sooners, winning the school’s sixth Heisman Trophy. He set the FBS single-season passing efficiency record, with a 198.9 rating, which shattered his previous record of 196.4 he posted in 2016.
Mayfield twice led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff and was instrumental in the development of Riley as one of college football's top offensive coaches.