Soon­ers’ Mur­ray is AP’s top player

The Beaufort Gazette - - Sports - BY ERIC OL­SON

Kyler Mur­ray is The As­so­ci­ated Press col­lege foot­ball Player of the Year, the se­cond straight Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back and fifth over­all to win the award since it was es­tab­lished in 1998.

Mur­ray beat out Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa on 56 bal­lots sub­mit­ted by AP col­lege foot­ball poll vot­ers and an­nounced Thurs­day. Ohio State quar­ter­back Dwayne Hask­ins Jr. was third.

“It’s hum­bling and an honor to be named AP Player of the Year, to be men­tioned in the same realm as a lot of great play­ers, a lot of hall of famers,” Mur­ray said. “It’s a spe­cial deal for me and hope­fully I can con­tinue to make my fam­ily and team­mates proud.”

Mur­ray re­ceived 39 first-place votes and a to­tal of 145 points. Tago­v­ailoa re­ceived 13 first­place votes (117 points) and Hask­ins was listed first on four bal­lots (55 points).

All three are fi­nal­ists for the Heis­man Tro­phy , which will be pre­sented Satur­day night in New York. Mur­ray and Tago­v­ailoa will face each other in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off, when No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Ok­la­homa at the Orange Bowl semi­fi­nal on Dec. 29.

Mur­ray joins Baker May­field (2017), Josh He­u­pel (2000), Ja­son White (2003) and Sam Brad­ford (2008) as pre­vi­ous win­ners from Ok­la­homa. No other school has had more than two play­ers win AP Player of the Year.

Mur­ray, a 5-foot-10, 195pound ju­nior from Allen, Texas,

won the award in his fi­nal year as a col­lege ath­lete. The Oak­land Ath­let­ics took Mur­ray with the ninth pick in the Ma­jor League Base­ball draft in June. Mur­ray, who bat­ted .296 with 10 home runs and 13 dou­bles in 50 games as the Soon­ers’ cen­ter fielder, signed for nearly $5 mil­lion, with the A’s agree­ing to let him re­turn to school and play foot­ball this sea­son .

Mur­ray was May­field’s backup last sea­son and won the starter’s job in pre­sea­son prac­tice. He went on to be­come one of three 4,000-yard passers in the na­tion and threw for 40 touch­downs. He also has rushed for 892 yards and 11 TDs.

Mur­ray leads the coun­try in to­tal of­fense (4,945 yards), points re­spon­si­ble for (306) and pass­ing ef­fi­ciency (205.7).

Mur­ray started his ca­reer at Texas A&M, where his fa­ther, Kevin Mur­ray, set sea­son and ca­reer pass­ing records as the Ag­gies’ quar­ter­back in the mid-1980s. Kyler Mur­ray trans­ferred to Ok­la­homa af­ter his fresh­man sea­son, sat out a sea­son per trans­fer rules and then backed up May­field.

“It’s been a long jour­ney with a lot of wait­ing, but I think it’s all been worth it,” Mur­ray said. “All the hard work with my team­mates has re­ally paid off.”



Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back Kyler Mur­ray was named The As­so­ci­ated Press Player of the Year on Thurs­day.

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