Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) dodges an attempted tackle by West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills on Nov. 23 of last season. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World

Kyler Murray was asked multiple times about his unique situation during Heisman Trophy weekend in New York City.

Would the Oklahoma quarterback fulfill his first-round baseball contract with the Oakland Athletics? Which sport does he love more? Could he see himself playing both sports?

On the morning after being named the Heisman winner and while sitting with three OU football reporters, Murray was asked one final question about the subject: Was he tired of all the baseball talk during college football’s biggest weekend?

“It was part of it. I did sign a contract to go play baseball so it's understandable but yeah, I think everybody gets the gist of what's going on,” Murray said to familiar faces in a Manhattan meeting room on Dec. 9.

So, a month later, here is the gist of things.

On Monday, Murray announced his intention to enter the NFL Draft via Twitter. His decision came on deadline day and it wasn’t a surprise.

Murray’s choice also isn’t a finalization of his future. Murray still has the option to play for the Oakland Athletics, who selected him No. 9 overall in the Major League Baseball draft and paid him a $4.66 million signing bonus last June while allowing him one season to play for the Sooners.

Murray is the fifth OU player to declare early entry into the NFL Draft since the Orange Bowl loss to Alabama. He joins running back Rodney Anderson, wide receiver Marquise Brown and offensive tackles Bobby Evans and Cody Ford.

For Oklahoma, what Monday’s announcement does do is sever Murray’s ties with the school although it was improbable that the Heisman Trophy winner would have returned for a senior season.

With quarterback Austin Kendall’s decision to enter the NCAA transfer database to explore his options to leave, the Sooners currently have two scholarship quarterbacks on its 2019 roster – redshirt freshman Tanner Mordecai and true freshman Spencer Rattler, who won’t arrive in Norman until this summer.

OU fans will now turn attention to Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, who also entered the NCAA’s database in search of a new school. Hurts is 26-2 as a starting quarterback and also a former SEC offensive player of the year. He reportedly has made visits to OU, Maryland and Miami.

While Monday was a deadline day for Murray, there is now another important day to watch.

On Feb. 15, the A’s will begin spring training and Murray has reportedly been invited to the big league’s camp. Invitations will soon go out for the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins Feb. 26 in Indianapolis.

Murray’s February schedule will be anyone’s guess – baseball or football? There is a chance he could be the first person ever selected in the first round of both sports, according to Elias Sports.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Murray actually submitted the paperwork to enter the NFL draft on Friday and added “Murray has informed the Oakland A’s of his intention to follow his heart to the NFL, where many project him to be a first-round pick.”

Murray had never been definitive about his professional plans since signing a contract with the A’s last June. Questions about his football future started during OU’s preseason media day last June, carried through the season and continued through his final game at the Orange Bowl.

Murray’s answers during Heisman weekend perhaps tipped off what culminated with Monday’s announcement.

Did his college football success change his baseball views?

Murray: “Uh, no. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I don’t really … I’m not really thinking about baseball right now. My focus is solely on, you know, just (the College Football Playoff).”

Would he love to play both sports at the next level?

Murray: “I would love to do that. I’ve always been a guy with many options. I try and keep ‘em open as long as possible. Yeah, if that was possible, I’d definitely be open to it … Obviously at … the next level, it’s gonna be way more difficult. But I would love to do it, yeah.”

Which sport is more fun?

Murray: “I don’t have an answer for you.”

Eric Bailey



Twitter: @ericbaileyTW

Sports Writer

Eric covers the University of Oklahoma football and men’s basketball teams. A Haskell Indian Nations University graduate, he has been a member of the Tulsa World sports staff for 12 years. Phone: 918-581-8391