Kyler Murray’s time at Oklahoma has officially come to an end.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback declared for the NFL draft on Monday, putting an end to any chances of him returning to Oklahoma for his senior season.
After transferring to OU from Texas A&M, Murray backed up Baker Mayfield in 2017 and assumed the starting role ahead of the 2018 season. The results were spectacular. Murray threw for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes. He also ran for 1,001 yards and 12 scores while leading the Sooners to a Big 12 title and a College Football Playoff berth.
OU, the fourth seed, played No. 1 Alabama in the CFP semifinals, but lost 45-34. Murray had 308 passing yards, 109 rushing yards and three total touchdowns in the loss.
What about baseball?
Murray formally entering his name into the draft was an expected outcome, and it’s one that doesn’t close the door on a potential baseball career.
Murray was chosen with the No. 9 overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in last year’s MLB draft. The A’s gave Murray a $4.6 million signing bonus and allowed him to play one more season of football at Oklahoma before reporting to spring training in 2019.
While some looked at Murray as a potential breakout star in the sport, his run to the Heisman Trophy surpassed even the boldest of expectations and vaulted him onto the radar of NFL teams. Typically NFL teams aren’t too keen on drafting quarterbacks of Murray’s stature (he’s listed at 5-foot-10), but he could be the one to buck that trend.
Some NFL draft experts believe Murray will be a first-round choice. If that happens, Murray would become the first athlete selected in the first round in both the MLB and NFL drafts.
Even though he declared for the NFL, Murray still has the option to report to spring training with the A’s, but it would have a heavy overlap with the NFL combine.
The A’s visited with Murray over the weekend in an attempt to persuade him to play baseball. Murray still has time to weigh his options, but — for now — it looks like Murray’s heart is set on playing pro football.
What does this mean for Oklahoma?
Oklahoma entered 2018 under the assumption that this would be Murray’s last college football season, so the coaching staff has had time prepare for life without him in Norman. One player expected to be in the mix for the starting job in 2019 is Austin Kendall, Murray’s backup in 2018. However, Kendall put his name in the NCAA transfer database, allowing other programs to contact him about a transfer.
Another option for Oklahoma is Jalen Hurts. The Alabama transfer was busy over the weekend. Hurts reportedly visited three schools: Maryland, Oklahoma and Miami. Hurts was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 and has a 26-2 record as a starter at Alabama, but was passed over on the depth chart by Tua Tagovailoa, who finished as the Heisman runner-up behind Murray.
Murray becomes the fifth member of the Sooners’ high-powered offense to declare for the draft, joining running back Rodney Anderson, wide receiver Marquise Brown and tackles Cody Ford and Bobby Evans.
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