Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is "on the fence" as to whether or not to vote Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield the Heisman Trophy winner after the senior's vulgar gesture during last Saturday's win over Kansas.
"I think he's done a great job all year finding ways to win games and I think being around the trophy committee and being around just the culture of those guys I do think holding yourself to a higher standard is a part of the Heisman Trophy," Mariota, who has a Heisman vote due to his 2014 win, told the Rich Eisen Show Wednesday. "And unfortunately he got...obviously was in the heat of the moment and that stuff kind of happens."
Mayfield was caught on the sideline grabbing his groin region and shouting expletives at Kansas players during the Sooners' 41-3 win. He was punished for the incident by coach Lincoln Riley, who stripped him of his captaincy for Saturday's game and took away his starting job for the opening minutes.
The fact is though Mayfield is the Heisman front-runner statistically. The 22-year-old has thrown for 3,816 yards with 34 touchdowns and five interceptions on the season. Oklahoma is 10-1 and currently ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff Rankings.
Mayfield has thrown for 300 yards eight times and at least 400 yards twice this season. In addition, he has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every single game while throwing no interceptions in seven of 11 games.
But in the language for the requirements of the Heisman Trophy it states the award is given to a player "whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity." That is where voters are going to have to make a decision. It's something that Mariota is clearly struggling with at this time.
"When it comes down to it when we have to put in our votes I'll take in everything and (name) who I think is the best player in the country," he said.
Antics on and off the field prior to being named the Heisman Trophy winner are not uncommon. Cam Newton infamously stole a laptop on Florida's campus before winning the Heisman later at Auburn and Johnny Manziel's off-field behavior at Texas A&M, so moments of bad judgment are not disqualifying for the award.