This is certainly an interesting, if not wholly unexpected, development.
Kyler Murray, the projected heir-apparent to Baker Mayfield as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback, is also fairly decent as a baseball player, projected by many to be a first-round pick in the Major League Baseball Draft that kicked off Monday evening. Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley just late last week, though, insisted he wasn’t concerned about where Murray was taken in the draft, saying “I fully expect him to be with us.”
“I really don’t have any worries about it,” Riley added.
Based on today’s developments, Riley might have reason to do just that as the Oakland A’s made Murray the ninth-overall selection of the 2018 MLB Draft. That’s a rather significant development as heading into the draft, Murray, who was listed by most publications as a mid-thirties-ish prospect heading into the draft, was viewed by many as a late first-round selection at best.
The fact that he was taken inside the Top 10 could very well impact the decision of a 5’10”-ish football player who by most accounts doesn’t have a future as an NFL quarterback — especially given the money from baseball that’s now very much in play.
Now, Murray could sign with the Athletics and still play for the Sooners in 2018. The question, though, is whether that stick-and-ball organization would want to shell out that kind of money — and it could end up being north of $5 million when it’s all said and done as Scott Boras will be involved in the negotiations — and allow a player that they think that highly of to continue playing football.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, and if Murray ultimately ditches football for baseball, the Sooners would then turn to sophomore Austin Kendall, who by most accounts had gained on Murray this spring, as the likely successor to the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner.