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Oklahoma Sooner football coaches do not expect quarterback Kyler Murray to return to school for the 2019 season, according to Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman:
Ryan Aber @ryaber
Not that this is a surprise to anyone at this point but I’m told #Sooners coaches do not expect Kyler Murray to return.
Jason Kersey of The Athletic confirmed the report:
Jason Kersey @jasonkersey
I can confirm that Oklahoma coaches do not expect Kyler Murray to return next season. @ryaber first reported. Not entirely surprising, but still interesting given the speculation the last couple weeks.
Murray accounted for 54 touchdowns (42 passing, 12 rushing) in a Heisman Trophy-winning season that saw him lead OU to the College Football Playoff, where the Sooners lost to Alabama in the semifinals. He also rushed for 1,001 yards on a Sooners team that averaged a Division I FBS-leading 48.4 points per game.
A baseball star as well, Murray was drafted by the Oakland Athletics ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft. Last season, he slashed .296/.398/.556 and had 10 home runs and 47 RBI for OU. The outfielder also stole 10 bases.
As Aber and Kersey noted, Murray’s likely decision to leave OU isn’t surprising. In an interview with Tim Tebow of ESPN that aired December 1, Murray said “no” in response to a question asking whether he’d consider returning to Norman. Murray then clarified that his next stop would be professional baseball or football.
An exclusive report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday also showed signs that Murray wouldn’t head back, as “multiple sources” told her that the Oakland Athletics expect the 21-year-old “to declare for the NFL draft on Sunday.”
Much will be said (and has already been said) about Murray’s 5’10”, 195-pound size potentially prohibiting him from NFL success should he officially give pro football a shot.
However, he has blazing speed and just finished one of the more impressive seasons by a collegiate quarterback in recent memory. One anonymous NFL general manager told Adam Schefter of ESPN that he thinks Murray will be a late first-round pick:
Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
An NFL general manager speaking Saturday about Heisman-Trophy winner Kyler Murray: “I really believe he’s a first-round pick, a late first, I really do. And the fact that Baker (Mayfield) is having a great year will help Murray, too….He’s going to be a first-round pick.”
The fact that Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert is returning to school helps Murray’s draft stock as well. Herbert was being talked about as a No. 1 pick in numerous circles, and without him in the mix, the quarterback class got a little thinner, leaving Murray some extra room to improve his standing.
We’ll see if Murray follows through on a professional football career, but for now, a return to school seems out of the question.