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Jake By The Lake: ESPN’s Trotter Moves From Oklahoma, Big 12 Beats To Cover Browns, Ohio State

He brings years of experience covering Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield, former Sooners star

Jake Trotter – not pictured here – feels the Cleveland Browns are on the rise. He’s not alone. (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter has covered the Oklahoma Sooners and the Big 12 Conference since he joined ESPN eight years ago.

Now he’s moving onto the NFL like so many of the elite college football players he has covered. Beginning next week, Trotter will be ESPN’s new NFL Nation team reporter assigned to the Cleveland Browns. He will also remain connected to college football by contributing to coverage of Ohio State.

Jake Trotter joined ESPN.com in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Jake Trotter)

The opportunity to cover one of pro football’s ascending teams was particularly alluring for Trotter, especially since he documented the college careers of several Browns players, most notably franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield, who won the 2017 Heisman Trophy and led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff.

As he trades the Red River Rivalry for the AFC North, Trotter discusses his new assignment and why he chose to relocate from his home state of Oklahoma to Northeast Ohio.

What intrigues you about the Browns?
Not only are the Browns an iconic franchise backed by a passionate fan base, but they’re also part of Cleveland’s identity. I can’t wait to be part of that, especially now, after so many gut-wrenching seasons, the franchise could be on the verge of something special.

What did you think of Baker Mayfield’s rookie season having covered him in college?
Mayfield’s Week 2 debut against the Jets reminded me of his second career start with the Sooners. Down two touchdowns in the fourth quarter at Tennessee, Mayfield took over, rallying the Sooners to an improbable comeback while reversing the trajectory of a program that’s now been in the College Football Playoff three of the last four years. Likewise, Cleveland’s trajectory feels different now. Mayfield, and the infectious way in which he’s able to galvanize a team is the biggest reason why.

Are you looking forward to continuing your college football work by helping with coverage of Ohio State?
Absolutely. ESPN’s digital college football team is a talented group of great people, and I’m glad I still get the chance to work with them. Similar to Oklahoma and Texas, Ohio State is synonymous with the tradition and pageantry that makes college football special.

You’re an Oklahoma City native. Was it a difficult decision to move?
It was always going to take a special opportunity to pry us out of OKC, which we love. But my wife is originally from Ohio, which is actually where we met. And I’m thrilled about this new challenge with ESPN to report on an ascending pro franchise.

(Illustration: Bill Hofheimer/Photo courtesy Jake Trotter)
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