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Why star LB Kenneth Murray chose Oklahoma over Texas

The preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year sure would look nice in burnt orange right now, wouldn’t he?

NCAA Football: Kansas at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — The continued recruiting asymmetry between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns isn’t difficult to sum up. In fact, at Big 12 Media Days last week, Houston-area product and current Sooners standout linebacker Kenneth Murray did it in eight words when asked three questions by Burnt Orange Nation.

The preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Murray is one of the top defenders for Oklahoma heading into his junior season after a monster campaign that saw him rack up 155 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Those 155 tackles were the most by an Oklahoma player since 2007.

Three years ago about this time, Murray was a rising prospect out of Fort Bend Elkins and considering a trio of regional options, including Texas and Texas A&M. However, a trip to Norman in late July helped seal Murray’s recruitment in favor of Oklahoma as the Sooners closed with him. Then he went on to shoot up the rankings with a strong senior season.

Now he’s one of the top defenders in the Big 12 and on the right trajectory to land in the NFL next season if he decides to declare early for the draft.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns still haven’t been able to unseat the Sooners as the class of the Big 12 as head coach Tom Herman continues to rebuild the program following years of mediocrity under Mack Brown and Charlie Strong.

That process won’t be complete until Texas can beat Oklahoma in Arlington at AT&T Stadium in December to convince future recruits that if their decision comes down to the Longhorns and Sooners and they want to pick a winner, Austin is the place to be.

For Murray, that wasn’t the case, and in the nearly three years since his decision, the Horns haven’t done enough to change his particular calculus. Yet.