TYLER ROSE AWARD FIFTH ANNUAL EARL CAMPBELL by Robert Marlin Photos by Donna Cummings I was sitting at a table with Earl Campbell’s sister-in-law Rita Collins and her husband Donnie when Earl arrived at Willow Brook Country Club. He held his hand up with his fingers extended. He was not waving hello. His gesture was signifying that this was the fifth anniversary of the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. “The young men who are this year’s finalists are each deserving of the award. I am proud to recognize these fine athletes every year. These are all men of good character; they all embody the qualities we look to honor with this award,” Earl told reporters during a pre-event news conference. Those qualities include: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community, and tenacity. Earl continued his remarks, adding, “Tonight is very special to me, especially because we have reached a five-year milestone,” The fifth year of the award is a milestone because it means SPORTyler can now apply for membership in the National College Football Awards Association, which takes the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award to the next level through recognition as a national award. Some of the awards recognized as national awards are presented on the national broadcast of the ESPN Awards Show. According to Henry Bell III, COO for the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce, “It is important to us that the award is always tied back and represents Tyler as a whole and we will always have the award banquet in Tyler.” Broadcaster Ron Franklin once again served as the evening’s emcee. Two of the finalists for this year’s award were present for the event: Ronald Jones, II and Jarrett Stidham. Two-time finalist J. T. Barrett was not able to attend, but was represented by his parents, Stacy and Joe Barrett. Oklahoma State’s all-time leading receiver, also ranked second in the history of the Big 12 Conference, James Washington, was also not able to attend. Baker Mayfield was presented to the audience via Skype. Once video highlights for each of the finalists were shown, Earl’s sons Tyler and Christian came to the podium to make the actual announcement of the winner. They have shared that honor every year since the inception of the award. Tyler reminded the finalists of the high expectations that come with winning the award, as every winner is embraced into the Campbell Family. “My brother doesn’t speak much, so I’m going to let him announce the winner.” With that introduction, Christian stepped up and said two words, “Baker Mayfield.” Using the innovation of Skype, Baker Mayfield was able to accept the award, “Thank you, this is unbelievable. It is such an honor. I was blessed to have a lot of people pushing me, as if I had no choice but to keep fighting. For me, that’s always been my mindset. I thank you for this honor. It’s unbelievable and I wish I could be there in person. I can’t wait to be part of the Campbell Family forever.” Mayfield had an impressive year, also winning the Heisman Trophy, the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the Maxwell Award, the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award. He led the nation in completion percentage (.705), passing efficiency rating (198-9) – breaking his own FBS record of 196.4 set last year – yards per pass attempt (11.5), yards per completion (16.2) and pass of plays of 20-plus yards (75). He also ranks second in passing touchdowns (43), third in total offense (352.7 yards per game) and fifth in passing yards (330.5 per game).