The Oakland Athletics’ drafting Kyler Murray has made him the latest two-sport college athlete to go pro.
University of Oklahoma junior Kyler Murray went in the ninth round to the A’s under the condition that he can play his junior year with the Sooners. Last year, he played backup to Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and is largely expected to win the starting quarterback position with the Sooners. Murray attended Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma for his sophomore year.
The A’s declined to give the details of Murray’s contract other than his $4.6 signing bonus. The contract also includes a clause providing insurance in case Murray is injured during the 2018 football season.
“I don’t know that it gets me off of Cal football to root for Oklahoma football,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin, “but we will definitely watch Oklahoma football a little closer this year.
At Allen High School in Texas Murray starred both as a quarterback and shortstop. As a quarterback, he led a perfect team—winning 42 games straight, including three consecutive state championships. He won the Gatorade Football Player of the Year during his senior year and became the first player ever to be selected for the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and the Under Armour All-America Football Game.
He initially played both football and baseball at Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma, which per NCAA rules on transfers, forced him to forego his sophomore year of sports.
During the Sooners’ 2017 baseball season, he played left field and batted .122. He performed significantly better this year, however, playing center field and batting .296 with ten home runs, 47 RBI’s, and ten stolen bases. Before this year’s breakout baseball season, though, he gained national attention on the gridiron as a backup to Mayfield. He went 86 percent in pass completions and threw three touchdowns. He is currently a favorite to win the QB position for the Sooners this year.
Murray will join a select but growing number of athletes who excelled either in college or professionally in more than one sport. The more famous of those who excelled in Murray’s sports include 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, who played as a running back for the Oakland Raiders and an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals; Deion Sanders, who won two Super Bowls and played with the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series; and Jeff Samardzija, who currently pitches for the Chicago Cubs after he became the all-time leading receiver at Notre Dame.
Playing a year as the starting QB of a red-hot team like Oklahoma could give Murray the kind of breakout year that would allow him to keep his career options open in the future.
At 5’11 and under 200 lbs, though, his NFL chances are slim. And the fact that the A’s were willing to offer him insurance and close the contract now shows that they are confident Murray will not be drafted into the NFL.
But even if the football scouts do come knocking, Oakland’s front office likely believes Murray will choose the safer option of baseball. After all, Jackson, the only athlete ever to be a baseball All-Star and football Pro-Bowler, said if he knew what he knows now about the concussion risk in football, he would have stuck to baseball.
Author: Jacob Grandstaff
Jacob Grandstaff is a co-founder of YourWorld Media and a freelance journalist. He graduated in 2015 from the University of North Alabama with a B.A. in history. He taught high school before attending the National Journalism Center in 2017 where he wrote for Capital Research Center. His work has appeared in Fox News, The Washington Examiner, The Blaze, the Daily Signal, One America News, and National Review Online.