Kyler Murray is already a first-round draft pick in one sport and may soon be one in another.
No one has ever been a top-10 pick in both baseball and football, not even Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.
Murray could be the first.
“He’s either going to be a Major League Baseball All-Star or he’s going to be a Pro Bowler,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said Friday. “He just needs to decide which one. Maybe both.”
As Alabama coaches have realized even more in recent weeks while prepping for Oklahoma, Murray is a truly special talent, a heck of an overall quarterback and a lot more than just a great runner.
“I think the guy is one of the most dynamic players that I have ever seen in college football in terms of his skill set,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “He can beat you with his feet. He’s got great speed. He’s very athletic. He’s a good passer. They have an outstanding scheme that really challenges you defensively and takes advantage of his skill set in every way, which is pretty obvious by the production that they’ve had all season long in terms of their ability to score points, make explosive plays, his ability to make explosive plays and to distribute the ball in a way that all the other players on his team have an opportunity to make explosive plays.”
The Heisman winner has thrown for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns, has run for 892 yards and another 11 touchdowns and has the Sooners averaging just under 50 points per game heading into this matchup with Alabama.
“Everybody’s talked about him as an athlete and how well he runs and how fast he is and all that kind of stuff, but the way he reads and understands the coverages and how he distributes the ball, when he distributes the ball, the timing of it (is impressive),” Tide co-defensive coordinator Pete Golding said. “And then based on the look we give him, we’re going to do some things to take some things away, and that’s when he beats you with his legs. Just how developed he is as a quarterback (was impressive while watching film). I was very impressed with his decision-making. Obviously he’s an unbelievable athlete. But based on the coverages and the scheme that he sees, he distributes the football most of the time where he’s supposed to and on time.”
That’s why it’s possible, even after going No. 9 overall in the Major League Baseball draft in June, Murray could be drafted even earlier for football.
Especially if he has a big game against Alabama.
“The guy is already the ninth overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft, and I think he’ll probably be somewhere around the same spot if he chooses to go football-wise,” Riley said. “I realize there’s a lot that goes into that, what teams are selecting, what their needs are. But we just had a guy (Baker Mayfield) go first overall the year before, and I think this guy is that kind of impact player and certainly a rare athlete, one of those that you very well may go through the rest of your career coaching and never have one like that again. He’s that unique.”
Matt Zenitz is an Alabama and Auburn reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @mzenitz.