LEADOFF: UGA fans’ prank calls earned Baker Mayfield’s ‘respect’


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports. 

Georgia football fans made quite an impression on Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma’s star quarterback, with their barrage of prank calls and text messages Sunday. 

“I respect them,” Mayfield said Wednesday after arriving in Atlanta for a college football awards show tonight. “People ask me if I was really that mad. No, not really. It was pretty funny. 

Photos: Baker Mayfield, Georgia’s target at Rose Bowl

“I’d hope our fans would do the same thing if they got a chance.” 

Someone posted Mayfield’s cell-phone number online, and some UGA fans seized upon it after the College Football Playoff set the Georgia-Oklahoma semifinal matchup. 

“They were creative, I’d say that,” Mayfield said. “Got probably about 100 text messages and calls in about 45 minutes. My phone just blew up.

“There were a couple that were pretty good – some people asking me if I had done my homework yet. I guess they were concerned about my academics. I appreciate that.” 

The downside, Mayfield said, was that he had to change his phone number.

“That’s the first time I’ve changed it since getting the phone in eighth grade,” he said. “So I had to memorize a new number. Pretty disappointed about that.” 

Mayfield -- the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday in New York -- is a finalist for two of the nine individual awards that will be presented during a made-for-TV event at the College Football Hall of Fame here tonight: the Maxwell Award as college football’s player of the year and the Davey O’Brien Award as the best quarterback. The “College Football Awards” show will air from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN and will be preceded by a one-hour red-carpet ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

READ ON ...

Mayfield and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith won’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to cross paths. See story here


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