Although it seemed that Kyler Murray‘s departure from OU football was all but inevitable basically all season, a recent tweet from former NFL executive Gil Brandt suggested that might not be the case.
Kyler Murray put together a historic season behind center for the Sooners after being drafted in the top 10 by the Oakland A’s in the offseason and became the first quarterback to rush for over 100 yards against a Nick Saban-coached Alabama team in the College Football Playoff, but ending the season on a low note and the Sooners’ first double-digit loss under head coach Lincoln Riley might have changed Murray’s perspective.
This still seems like a longshot, but hear us out.
Kyler Murray came up short of his one true goal in college football – winning a National Championship. With a new defensive coordinator, three stellar returning running backs and an influx of new talent both sides of the ball there’s no reason to believe an OU team led by a returning Heisman Trophy winner wouldn’t be an early odds-on favorite to win it all next year.
There’s also some credibility in the Brandt’s opinion. The former NFL executive has been close with the Oklahoma program for a long time and was even the guy who recommended Lincoln Riley to Bob Stoops when he was hired.
Murray could play minor league baseball this summer then return to the Sooners for his senior football season and fall camp.
This is a scenario that has played out before. Russell Wilson was drafted in 2010 by the Colorado Rockies, but still had two years left of college eligibility. Wilson would spend the summer fulfilling his commitment to the Rockies by playing short-season rookie league ball for the Class A Tri-City Devils.
If this is all legal and plausible, why doesn’t it happen more often?
The first obvious reason is because most players aren’t talented enough to do this in two sports. The second being that playing college football has become a year-round endeavor, especially for quarterbacks.
Still, it’s not impossible. Wilson put together his best collegiate season after paying 31 minor league games over the previous summer. He completed 72.8 percent of his passes for 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Why it probably won’t happen
Murray said as much in a televised interview with Tim Tebow before the Big 12 Championship game. At the time he didn’t see himself returning to Oklahoma under the current circumstances.
The A’s have already been patient with Murray and the Sooners and aren’t likely to let their prize pick risk injury for another fall football season, plus they are probably eager to get their hands on him as soon as possible in spring training to get him accustomed to hitting against professional pitching.
There’s also the NFL factor. Murray could very well be drafted to play professional football should he declare this offseason and there’s no reason he couldn’t pull the same two-sport shuffle and get paid for both – much like Wilson himself did following his senior year. Norman is a great place and Lincoln Riley is a heck of a coach, but the lure of money for two sports might just be too great.
But for now, OU fans can hold out at least a little hope