Kyler Murray will play baseball in the A’s system next season, and he’ll be the only guy on his minor league team with a Heisman in his trophy case.
That’s if the voters are smart, and if Murray doesn’t change his mind about his career path.
Murray used his arm and legs to lead Oklahoma to the Big 12 championship Saturday, and that should be enough for the dual-threat quarterback to win the Heisman next weekend. Of course, Tua Tagovailoa, Murray’s chief competition for the award, plays for Alabama, the bluest of blue bloods, and he’ll receive votes out of habit and SEC bias.
But Tagovailoa’s SEC title game outing was an injury-marred bust, and even though Alabama won behind backup QB Jalen Hurts, the Heisman should go to Murray. The junior threw for 300-plus yards in nine of 13 games and is on pace for 1,000 rushing yards this season, should the Sooners reach the College Football Playoff National Championship.
And, if the CFB committee allows Oklahoma into its four-team party, that’s where things could get interested.
The national title game will be played Jan. 7 at Levi’s Stadium, where NFL scouts and curious A’s fans could converge. The former will be there to find the best talent, and Murray, his small stature be damned, fits that bill. The latter would be there to a) hope Murray doesn’t suffer an injury and b) see why the A’s choose to invest $4.66 million and a first-round draft pick in a college football star.
So, Murray would spend championship week checking out the Bay Area — his potential home — but also playing in an NFL stadium in front of a crowd double what he’d likely see in the major leagues. You couldn’t fault him for wondering if the field, not the diamond, would be more his speed.
Because Murray's speed exactly is what would attract executives, scouts and coaches in an NFL that now puts skill players in space, with rules designed to prevent decapitation by tackle-mad defenders. The NFL wants its playmakers upright, its fans salivating over high-octane offenses and its corporate sponsors spending billions. That, plus the $32 million contract that former Oklahoma teammate Baker Mayfield signed with the Browns last spring, might make Murray wonder the grass, if not the money, is greener in football.
Of course, Murray has said even recently that he’s committed to leaving Oklahoma after this season to chase his baseball dreams with the A’s. But he’s not a statue, like the one he deserves to win. He’s human, and the heart wants what it wants.
So, Murray might come to the Bay next month, potentially with a lot more to think about than winning a national championship. First things first, though: He should win the Heisman, then either confirm or really make his choice between football and baseball.