Kyler Murray, the first-round Major League Baseball draft pick and Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma quarterback, declared himself eligible for the NFL draft on Monday.
Murray announced his decision in a tweet , ending his brief and storied college career. What’s next for the Murray is not yet known.
The Oakland Athletics made the speedy outfielder the ninth overall selection last June and agreed to $4.66 million signing bonus. The A’s agreed to let him continue playing football, and he made the most of it by winning the Heisman in his only season as a starter for the Sooners. He passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for 1,001 yards and another 12 scores, posting the second-best passer efficiency rating in FBS history.
As Murray dominated, his draft stock improved. Jim Callis, a senior writer on MLB.com, said the A’s couldn’t have foreseen Murray would be a potential first-round NFL draft pick because of his size. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Murray would be a small quarterback in the NFL by any standard.
"I don’t think anybody was saying he could be an NFL first-round pick," Callis said.
Once the NFL emerged as a potential option for Murray, the A’s took action. Representatives of the A’s and Major League Baseball met Sunday with Murray, according to a person with direct knowledge of the session who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not made public.
The possibility existed Oakland could offer more money by putting him on the 40-man major league roster.
Even with the A’s efforts, Murray would have a shot at a bigger payday sooner in football and he wouldn’t have to go to the minor leagues.
Callis and other observers say it is very unlikely Murray will be able to play both sports because he’s a quarterback. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders pulled it off, but Jackson was an outfielder and a running back and Sanders was an outfielder and cornerback.
"This isn’t Bo Jackson showing up and here, we’ll pitch you the ball and you outrun everybody, or Deion Sanders helicoptering in and his great speed, coverage skills," Callis said. "When you’re a quarterback, you have to put in hours and hours of study running an offence. … You can’t play both sports when you’re a quarterback. I think if he wants to play quarterback, which appears to be his greatest love, there can’t be any question that he’s 100 per cent football."
Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said in November that if anyone could play both sports, it’s Murray.