Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was once expected to be an exceptional professional baseball player. But his success as Oklahoma’s quarterback last season made more and more people see the potential he had as an NFL QB. Since then, the will-he-or-won’t-he debates about Murray and what sport he’ll play (or if he’d try to play both at the pro level) have been fodder for sports shows since the beginning of the football season.
Those discussions can cease now, as Murray has officially dropped baseball altogether and will focus on an NFL career.
Murray, who was drafted to play baseball by the Oakland A’s, will have to give back the signing bonus he got from the A’s, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Kyler Murray will return $1.29 million of the $1.5 million signing bonus money the Oakland A’s gave him last year. He forfeits the remaining $3.16 million due March 1. The A’s will put him on the restricted list and retain Murray’s rights, but they don’t get a comp draft pick.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 11, 2019
It was mainly due to Murray’s size (or lack of) that kept him from getting serious consideration as a pro football prospect – he’s listed at 5’10”, 195 pounds. But his stats this past season were just too good for scouts not to notice.
In his third collegiate season (remember, he started at Texas A&M but transferred to Oklahoma and sat out the 2016 season per the NCAA’s transfer rules), Murray completed 69% of his passes for 4,351 yards and 42 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
In 2018, Oakland took Murray with the ninth overall pick in the MLB Draft. That was following a season in which the now-NFL prospect played centerfield for the Sooner baseball team and finished with a .296 batting average with ten home runs, 47 RBI, and ten stolen bases.
Previously, Murray said he would attend A’s spring training, but that is no longer in the cards, given today’s announcement. Although throughout the process, the multi-sport prospect has kept his options open.
An NFL.com article predicts that Murray will attend the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. Beyond that, the Oklahoma product projects as the top quarterback in the draft, which could land him inside the top five.