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Murray Gets Heisman, Gives It To NFL

Kyler Murray had quite the 72 hours last weekend, highlighted by his hoisting the Heisman Trophy in New York City on Saturday night.

It all started Thursday when the Oklahoma quarterback was named the Associated Press college player of the year and won the Davey O’Brien Award as the game’s top QB.

Justin K. Aller / Getty

Then before the weekend was done, his agent confirmed he had no plans to play in the NFL and Murray was compelled to apologize for homophobic tweets he posted on Twitter when he was 14 and 15 years old.

Just another day in the life of a young celebrity in the new fast-paced, and sometimes caustic, new world we live.

Let’s begin with the Heisman. Murray beat out Alabama’s QB Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s QB Dwayne Haskins. The Sooners’ Baker Mayfield, a finalist in 2016, won the Heisman last season, making Oklahoma the first program in history to field consecutive QBs to win the award.

With no clear winner this year, Murray picked up 517 first-place votes and 2,167 points. He was named on 92 percent of ballots cast, the third most in Heisman history. Tagovailoa had 1,871 points, the most for a second-place finish in Heisman history. Haskins had 783 points.

“This is crazy,” said Murray in his acceptance speech. “This is an honor, something that I’ll never forget. Something that I’ll always cherish for the rest of my life.”

As you all likely know by now, Oklahoma and Alabama will play in one of the national championship semifinals, the Orange Bowl, on Dec. 29.  It will be the seventh time a Heisman winner and runner-up will face each other in a bowl game.

Murray averaged 380 yards of offense and produced 51 touchdowns with his arm (40 TD passes) or legs. Both numbers surpassed Mayfield’s production in 2017, and he was the first overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. Murray will also be the first FBS player to play in a bowl averaging at least 300 passing yards and at least 60 rushing yards.

“Kyler Murray has accomplished more in one season and had more impact on the Sooners’ tradition in one season than any other player in our history,” former OU coach Barry Switzer told The Athletic. “I really believe that. No one has done, in one year, what that kid has done. In fact, maybe no one has done it in college football. He’s broke all the damn records.”

But unlike Mayfield, it had always been assumed Murray’s football career would be over after this season. And that’s because he is likely a better baseball player.

Which brings us to Scott Boras, without question the most powerful agent representing MLB players.

Murray was the first high school athlete ever named an Under Armour All-American in football and baseball and would have likely been a first-round MLB pick in 2015 had he not decided to first go to Texas A&M and play both sports.

He didn’t play baseball as a freshman because of his transfer to Oklahoma and in 2017 he hardly impressed, hitting .122 with no homers, six RBIs and 12 steals in 27 games. But 2018 was quite different: .296 with 10 homers, 47 RBIs  and 10 steals in 51 games.

Murray signed with Boras was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft, immediately signing a $4.66 million deal with the Oakland A’s. Built more like an infielder or outfielder than NFL QB (5-feet-10, 195 pounds), it had been assumed he would follow that path, particularly after hearing NFL scouts had him listed as a Top 50 pick – hardly Mayfield material.

“I’d like to do both if possible,” said Murray. “But I don’t know how possible that is.”

That speculation ended quickly on Sunday when Boras – and Murray – confirmed baseball would be where it’s at for him.

“Kyler has every intention of fulfilling his agreement with the A’s and he’s grateful he has had the chance to pursue his college goals,” Boras told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He will be in spring training with the A’s.”

 

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