Will he stay or will he go now?
That was the question reverberating around the college football world after the Oakland Athletics selected Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday evening.
Long projected to replace Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield after transferring from the Texas A&M Aggies in late 2015, the high selection of Murray in the draft, which carries a slot value of more than $4.7 million, had the potential to complicate the quarterback picture for the Sooners this season.
The question was whether Oakland would spent a top-10 pick on the 5’10, 190-pounder without an assurance that he would at least consider signing. However, there was also the possibility that Murray could play football this season and then continue to pursue a baseball career next spring, according to Harold Reynolds of the MLB Network.
After sitting out two seasons waiting to replace Mayfield at Oklahoma, that scenario made the most sense for Murray — it is the best of both worlds. He doesn’t have to give up the big payday from the Athletics and still preserves the opportunity to pursue college football superstardom for the program favored to win the Big 12 once again.
And, in fact, it appears that option is still on the table after Murray indicated that he will be with the Sooners football program this fall:
Kyler Murray: “I will be playing football this year"— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) June 5, 2018
On Tuesday afternoon, the Sooners released an official statement confirming that Murray will wear crimson and cream on the gridiron this fall:
Statement from head coach Lincoln Riley on Kyler Murray: pic.twitter.com/j4Mhl1qgWP— Oklahoma Football (@OU_Football) June 5, 2018
Murray completed 18-of-21 attempts last season for 359 yards and three touchdowns in his back-up role and added 142 yards on the ground, including a 66-yard run against West Virginia.
However, he struggled in a starting role at Texas A&M, completing less than 60 percent of his passes and throwing seven interceptions against only five touchdowns. So it remains to be seen whether he can fulfill the potential that he showed as a consensus five-star prospect out of Allen High School in the 2015 class.
Whichever way Murray’s football career goes this fall, the Longhorns will see him in the Cotton Bowl this October.