Will Mur­ray give up foot­ball for the A’s? It’s com­pli­cated

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports - BY MAR­TIN GAL­LE­GOS

OAK­LAND

When Kyler Mur­ray was se­lected ninth over­all by the A’s in June’s MLB Draft, the thought of him ac­tu­ally hav­ing a shot to play in the NFL was a mere fan­tasy.

He was the heir to 2017 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner Baker May­field, tak­ing over as quar­ter­back for a tra­di­tion­ally high­pow­ered Ok­la­homa squad. But listed at just 5-foot-11 and around 195 pounds, there was no chance of Mur­ray play­ing on Sun­days un­less it was a mati­nee with the A’s. The only real con­cern on Oak­land’s side was mak­ing sure Mur­ray just got through the sea­son healthy.

Six months later, things have changed.

Mur­ray hasn’t just filled in ad­e­quately as May­field’s re­place­ment, he has shined to the point that he is now seen at the very worst a co-fa­vorite for the Heis­man along with Alabama quar­ter­back Tua Tago­v­ailoa. On Thurs­day, Mur­ray was named the As­so­ci­ated Press Col­lege Foot­ball Player of the Year.

As of Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, Fan­duel had Mur­ray as a -140 fa­vorite for the Heis­man, and with good rea­son. The red­shirt ju­nior has gone bonkers this sea­son, ac­cu­mu­lat­ing 4,945 yards and 51 touch­downs as he led the Soon­ers to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­offs. A’s gen­eral man­ager David Forst could get a chance to get a closer look at the prized prospect if Ok­la­homa makes it to the CFP ti­tle game at Levi’s Sta­dium.

Mur­ray hasn’t got­ten any big­ger in terms of stature, but his draft stock might be ris­ing with the emer­gence of small­er­sized big-armed quar­ter­backs now thriv­ing in the NFL, such as Patrick Ma­homes, Lamar Jackson and Baker May­field.

NFL draft ex­perts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay went back and forth on ESPN on Wed­nes­day, Kiper la­bel­ing Mur­ray a se­cond-rounder be­cause of his height, and McShay pro­ject­ing him as a first-rounder be­cause of the chang­ing na­ture of the league.

The spec­u­la­tion over whether Mur­ray could ac­tu­ally choose foot­ball over base­ball was se­ri­ous enough to the point that Scott Bo­ras, Mur­ray’s agent, tried to douse the flames ear­lier this week when he told Fan­cred’s Jon Hey­man, “He

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I THINK THAT’S SOME­THING ME AND MY FAM­ILY WILL TALK ABOUT AT THE END OF THE SEA­SON AND WEIGH OUT THE OP­TIONS OF WHAT THE NFL THINKS OF ME.

Kyler Mur­ray, Ok­la­homa quar­ter­back

SUE OGROCKI AP

Kyler Mur­ray has been signed by the Oak­land A’s, but his suc­cess on the foot­ball field could be giv­ing him se­cond thoughts about for­go­ing a foot­ball ca­reer, es­pe­cially af­ter he was named The As­so­ci­ated Press Col­lege Foot­ball Player of the Year.

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