Heading into the Texas-Oklahoma Big 12 title game, Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray reiterated his commitment to baseball over the NFL. The Oakland A’s selected Murray with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and part of the deal allowed Murray to play one season as the Oklahoma quarterback.
“I feel like I can play in the NFL,” Murray said per MLB.com. “But as far as giving [football] up, as of now that’s the plan.”
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Murray’s contract with the A’s is close to $5 million, and Murray is expected to play in the outfield.
“Kyler Murray and the A’s have a deal that guarantees him close to $5M and allows him to play football (he’s a QB and could be Baker Mayfield’s replacement) at Oklahoma for 1 year,” Heyman tweeted.
Murray’s baseball stats show why Oakland made him a top pick. During the 2018 Oklahoma baseball season, Murray hit .296 with 56 hits, 10 home runs and 47 RBI. Here’s an excerpt from MLB.com’s scouting report on Murray heading into the draft.
The best athlete in the 2015 Draft, Murray drew first-round interest from several clubs but opted out of the process because he was also the nation’s top-rated dual threat quarterback prospect and wanted to play football and baseball at Texas A&M. Despite playing regularly as a freshman for the Aggies, he opted to transfer to Oklahoma, where he had to sit out 2016 before backing up Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield last fall. After looking overmatched at the plate in his return to baseball with the Sooners last spring and in the Cape Cod League last summer, he has shown dramatic improvement as a redshirt sophomore.
Though he continues to juggle two sports and has lost a lot of at-bats while doing so, Murray has made impressive adjustments at the plate. He’s making better contact and no longer is easy prey for breaking balls, doing a better job of recognizing them and not chasing them off the plate. He has the plus-plus speed to create havoc on the bases and the bat speed and strength to produce average power…
With his tools and the surprising progress he has made in 2018, Murray once again is in position to command a multimillion-dollar bonus. However, it may be virtually impossible to get him to give up football when he’s a leading contender to helm one of college football’s top offenses. He’ll turn 21 shortly after the Draft and needs to get going with his baseball career if that’s going to be his future.
If Murray Entered the NFL Draft, Projections Have the Oklahoma QB Going in the First 2 Rounds
While Murray has committed to play professional baseball, it has not stopped NFL draft analysts from speculating on his stock. Back in October, McShay noted Murray would likely be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft if the Oklahoma quarterback has a change of heart.
The arm talent has surpassed my expectations, no question. Murray is just naturally gifted with touch and ball placement. The numbers so far are incredible: 21 total touchdowns and just two picks in five games. He leads FBS in yards per attempt (13.4), and the Sooners rank first in yards per play (8.9)…And Wilson has a totally different body type than Murray. He’s stronger and thicker, though Murray is the better overall athlete. Could Murray hold up physically as an NFL quarterback? We also had a 50-start college sample for Wilson. Murray has started only eight games so far, including three at Texas A&M in 2015. He is raw…Again, just eight career starts. But my best early guess is there’s no way this type of natural talent would get out of Round 2.