With a rarity that rivals the unicorn, the modern professional two-sport athlete is an uncommon phenomenon and when one emerges, like Kyler Murray has these days, he turns a lot of heads.
Murray was heavily courted by both the MLB and the NFL, like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders before him, but recently the Oklahoma kid (by way of Texas) announced that he has chosen to play football over baseball.
Odds are already being placed on which pick of the 2019 NFL draft Murray will be and to which franchise he’ll go, but before we go over those numbers, here’s a better look at who Kyler Murray is and how he came to be recruited by two of the big leagues.
First off, the name Murray sounds familiar – any relation?
Like many elite athletes, Kyler Murray comes from a family filled with highly skilled athletic role models.
Former MLB outfielder Calvin Murray is Kyler’s uncle, a University of Texas alumnus and former professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs.
Kevin Murray is Kyler’s father who was a quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983 to 1986.
Kyler Murray played at Oklahoma – is that where he’s from?
No, Murray is a Texas man, born in August 1997 (age 21) in the small town of Bedford, located just east of Fort Worth and about 30 miles west of Dallas.
Murray’s father is Kevin and his mother is Missy, and he is a second-generation Korean-American, his maternal grandmother a South Korean national.
Murray went to Allen High School in Allen, TX, located about 24 miles north of Dallas.
When did Murray become a two-sport athlete?
In high school, Murray played shortstop and second baseman on the baseball team while being a dual threat quarterback on the football team.
His football team won three state championships (and 43 games) in a row.
Murray finished his high school career with a perfect 42-0 record, missing only one start the entire time.
When did Murray become a two-sport prospect?
By his senior year of high school, ESPN, Scout.com and 247Sports ranked Murray as a five-star recruit and the best dual-threat quarterback in his class.
Murray was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year his senior year in 2014 and was a 2x USA Today All-American.
Both in 2013 and 2014, the 5-foot-10, 195 pound Murray was named Mr. Texas Football.
Did Murray have decent high school numbers?
Absolutely, it’s no wonder he was ranked as a five-star recruit.
In three seasons, Murray threw for 10,386 yards and 117 touchdowns with only 22 interceptions, his high school passing percentage at 63.4.
On the ground, he ran 490 times for 4,139 yards and 69 touchdowns, averaging 8.4 yards per carry.
Kyler Murray played at Oklahoma – is that who recruited him?
No, we was first signed by Texas A&M university to play college football and baseball in May 2014.
Though he lost the starting quarterback job to Kyle Allen, Murray appeared occasionally in games in the wildcat formation and later in the season won the starting job and in his first start threw for 223 yards while rushing for 156 yards.
The next December Murray announced he was transferring to the University of Oklahoma and sat out the 2016 season as required by the NCAA.
Wasn’t Baker Mayfield already the man at Oklahoma?
Yes, and Murray was his backup during the 2017 season.
Murray did get some playing time that year during some blowout wins.
There was also an occasion for Murray to play when Mayfield had to sit out some of the West Virginia game due to disciplinary actions in the previous game against Kansas, when he told their fans, “You have one win, stick to basketball” and then later grabbed his crotch at them.
Did Murray also play baseball at Oklahoma?
Yes, he was their left fielder in 2017 and batted .122 with 6 RBIs in 27 games.
In 2018 Murray moved over to centerfield and his numbers improved, batting .296 with 10 homeruns, 47 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
Professional baseball franchises noticed.
Is it true Murray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics his junior year?
Murray was upfront and declared his intention to continue to play Sooner football his Junior season at Oklahoma.
Nevertheless, he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the ninth overall selection in the 2018 MLB draft.
Murray signed a contract with the Athletics that included a $4.66 million signing bonus, telling them he would play football his junior year in 2018 and then report to spring training to begin playing professional baseball with the A’s.
What were Murray’s college stats?
In one season at Texas A&M, Murray threw for 686 yards and 5 touchdowns but had 7 interceptions, all while running 53 times for 335 yards and a touchdown.
Backing up Mayfield at Oklahoma his junior year, Murray completed 18-of-21 for 359 yards and three touchdowns but zero interceptions.
Murray shone bright in his senior year at Oklahoma in 2018, completing 216-of-306 (that’s a passing percentage of 70.6) for 3,674 yards and 37 touchdowns with 7 interceptions.
On the ground his senior season, Murray ran 113 times for 853 yards and 11 touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry.
What awards has Murray won (so far)?
The biggest one is the Heisman, which he took in 2018 along with the Davey O’Brien Award for being the best of all NCAA quarterbacks that season.
In 2018, Murray was also named the Associated Press Player of the Year and the Big 12 Offensive player of the Year.
Add to that First-team All-American and First-team All-Big 12 and it’s easy to see why the man chose football over baseball in the end.
When did Murray officially choose the NFL over the MLB?
On February 11, 2019, Murray announced that “Moving forward, I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback.”
His full announcement was included in a tweet where he makes clear exactly how much work he’s prepared to do to make in at the NFL level.
Reportedly, the announcement took the Oakland A’s off guard, who had remained “cautiously optimistic” that Murray would pick baseball.
What are the current odds on which pick Murray will be in the 2019 NFL Draft?
Currently, the odds favor Murray being selected by a franchise during the first nine picks of the 2019 NFL draft.
Murray’s over/under pick 9.5 odds are:
Under 9.5 -200
Over 9.5 +150
What are the current odds on which NFL team will select Murray?
Right now the Miami Dolphins are the odds on favorite, after their current starter Ryan Tannehill had an entirely inconsistent 2018 season and continues to be plagued by injuries.
The longest shots are the Cincinnati Bengals, the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers, all teams that missed the playoffs in 2018 but already have a veteran under center.
Here are the odds on which NFL team will take Murray:
- Miami Dolphins (+150)
- Arizona Cardinals (+500)
- New York Giants (+500)
- Jacksonville Jaguars (+500)
- Oakland Raiders (+600)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1200)
- Washington Redskins (+1200)
- Cincinnati Bengals (+1400)
- Denver Broncos (+1400)
- Pittsburgh Steelers (+1400)
Could Murray still play baseball in the MLB?
It could happen – that’s how two-sport athlete Brian Jordan did it.
Back in 1988, Jordan chose to play in the NFL until 1992, making the Pro Bowl as an alternate as a defensive back with the Atlanta Falcons, but after he retired from the NFL he went on to have a 15-year MLB career with four teams, even becoming an All-Star in 1999 after hitting 23 homeruns and driving in a career-high 115 runs for the Braves.
Barring injury, Murray could do the same, but it’s anyone’s guess how well the 5-foot-10, 195 pound kid from Texas via Oklahoma will do at the NFL level.
It’s a long shot for most undersized athletes to make it in pro sports, especially in football where brutal giants roam, but it’s a good bet Murray the dual-threat quarterback will be a top-ten draft pick and at least get a chance to prove that he’s the exception.
And if he’s not, he’s always got pro baseball to fall back on.