My Head’s in OU, but My Heart’s in OAK


Photo courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram

By going to play in the majors for baseball, Kyler Murray will join a club, alongside Vic Janowicz and Bo Jackson, of players who won the Heisman and then went on to play in the MLB (Photo courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram).

Kyler Murray is a redshirt junior at the University of Oklahoma (OU) from Allen, Texas, and starts as a quarterback for the school’s football team. Lately, he has been wreaking havoc in not only OU football but college football as a whole. The Oklahoma Sooners are ranked number one in the Big 12 and number four in the College Football Playoffs Top 25 with only one loss to the Texas Longhorns. However, after that loss to Texas, the Sooners went on to play the Longhorns again, in which they beat the Longhorns in a 39 to 27 win. The Sooners are set to appear in the Orange Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide on December 29th where they will battle for a spot in the College Football National Championship.

Murray has lead his team through an incredibly successful season, causing him to receive many awards. According to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, Murray is the nation’s number one college football quarterback, leading with a 96.0 ranking. In addition to being the number one quarterback, Murray was named the number one player in college football, by taking home the 2018 Heisman Trophy on December 8th. The Heisman is considered the biggest honor that a player can achieve.

“This is crazy. This is an honor. Something that I’ll never forget, something I’ll always treasure for the rest of my life,” said Murray during his Heisman acceptance speech in which he praises his family, teammates, and coaches.

The 5’10 and 195 lb. quarterback has accomplished big things over his past three years playing first at Texas A&M and then at Oklahoma. It seems obvious that, come this April, Murray should be preparing for a potential high draft pick with a large signing bonus. However, Murray has already been through a draft, but not the NFL draft. This past June, Murray was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland A’s to play in Major League Baseball. Under the noses of most college football fans, Murray has held a successful college baseball career. During the 2018 Oklahoma baseball season, Murray held up a .296 batting average and racked up 56 hits, 10 home runs, and 14 RBIs.

Photo Courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram
Last year’s Heisman winner, Baker Mayfield, was also a quarterback at Oklahoma, so Murray is now the second Oklahoma quarterback in a row to win the Heisman (Photo Courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram).

“I would have made the same decision. I know that the NFL is more popular, but if he is getting drafted ninth [overall in the MLB] then he is going to be a great player. He won’t be drafted number nine in the NFL because he won’t translate to a successful NFL quarterback. He’s good, but he’s not going to be a star [in the NFL], while in baseball he can be a star. Looking at the Oakland A’s, they are not a great team right now. Based on that, he has an opportunity to be extremely successful and turn a team around,” said junior Alex Ross.

The argument for Murray choosing to play in the MLB is that since he is 5’10, which is considered short for a quarterback, he would have to work extremely hard to be successful in the NFL. His height is not as much of a factor when determining success in the MLB.

“If I were [Murray], I would have chosen to go to the MLB because he has more to offer, like speed and hitting. If he felt up to the challenge, he could have gone to the NFL, but he might not have started anytime soon because of his size,” said sophomore Austin Cooper.

Another aspect of the argument is the five million dollars included in the contract along with the agreement to allow Murray to play for Oklahoma during this football season. Many people would say that by choosing to fight his way through the NFL, he would be forgoing millions of dollars.

“If he is getting drafted ninth overall and getting paid what he is, he has to go for that. He made a good decision in choosing to finish out school and his college football career. It is clearly the smartest move,” said junior Connor Beaule.

Since baseball is significantly less brutal in the hits that players take, most baseball players are able to hold long careers, while this is extremely rare in the NFL. The average length of a NFL career is about three to six years, while the average length of a career in the MLB is about five to ten years, meaning Murray has the opportunity to have a lengthier career in baseball.

“Murray should choose baseball because you could potentially play twenty years of baseball but only five years of football. It just makes more sense to choose the sport where you could easily be successful in, as opposed to one where you have to work really hard to be slightly successful,” said junior Jackson O’Bleness.

On the opposite side, the argument for choosing to play in the NFL is that there is serious potential to be successful, despite having to work hard to reach that success. Rookies in the NFL are different than rookies in the MLB. Typically the MLB has traded guys around to fill every position perfectly, while the NFL has multiple people for each position. After overcoming the struggle that his height leaves him with, Murray would have to put in a lot of hard work to pass the players that have already claimed the quarterback position.

“I think that if football is the sport that [Murray] loves, then he should go for that, even if it is harder. If he works on it and gets better, then that success and money will mean even more once he makes it to the big leagues. It would take a few years, but he could potentially be successful in the NFL,” said junior Uriel Coffi.

Despite all the debate and arguing, most people seem to side with Murray, by understanding the difficulty of choosing. The benefits of deciding to play in the MLB exceedingly outweigh the benefits of playing in the NFL. Most

Photo Courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram
As a 5’10 quarterback, Murray made a smart decision by choosing to play for the Oakland A’s next season as an outfielder (Photo Courtesy of MLB, @MLB on Instagram).

people are respecting his decision, but others have taken to the internet to leave rude comments attacking Murray for “choosing the easy way out.” Murray has surpassed everyone’s expectations by even looking into two different professional sports, which has only happened in a few instances.

“If you are good at two sports, you have to pick one at some point. It wasn’t like he was given a spot in the MLB. He had to work for that, so anyone criticizing him is wrong for that,” said Coffi.

Regardless of the debate, Murray has chosen to show up to the A’s spring training, and baseball and football fans alike are ecstatic to see how his success in college football and college baseball will translate to his success in the major leagues.