Quarterback Kyler Murray was one of the underclassmen whose names Oklahoma submitted to the NFL College Advisory Committee, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday.
The submission could imply a change of plans for Murray, an outfielder selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft.
The newest Heisman Trophy winner has until Jan. 14 to decide if he wants to pursue an NFL career and enter his name in the draft.
His agent, Scott Boras, initially downplayed Murray’s interest in the NFL, pointing to the contract Murray agreed to with the A’s that included a $4.6 million signing bonus and an agreement Murray would report to spring training in 2019.
But Wednesday night in Las Vegas, where Boras was peddling MLB free agents to baseball general managers, the agent’s tone softened. The thesis of his comments: Plans are subject to change.
“When you win the Heisman Trophy, you’re going to have a lot of information come to you and be looked at. All I know is that Kyler has a tremendous opportunity to be a great baseball player and he knows that,” Boras said. “I think, certainly, that opportunity is already in place, and he has every intention to be in spring training and advance that interest.”
The advisory council receives a list of interested underclassmen and formulates a grade based on evaluations of the player done during college visits and game scouting during the 2018 college football season. Players receive a “grade” that equates to a draft range, such as “third-fourth round,” for a player considered to be ranked between 65 and 120 among all eligible prospects.
Thursday’s revelation could put Murray in Indianapolis for the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine around the same time the Oakland A’s are starting spring training games. Or it could be a simple procedural maneuver to satisfy curiosity and establish a baseline of his perceived NFL value.
The day before the Heisman presentation last weekend, Murray said he would love to play two professional sports in a perfect world.
“I’d like to do both (football and baseball) if possible. But I don’t know how possible that is,” Murray said.
Last weekend, in an interview with ESPN’s Tim Tebow, a football and baseball player himself, Murray also sounded uncertain about his plan to focus on baseball after this season.
“I think that’s something me and my family will talk about at the end of the season and weigh out the options of what the NFL thinks of me,” Murray said. “Right now my future is already kind of planned out, but we’ll see what happens.”
Former NFL general manager Bill Polian said recently he believes Murray would be drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Murray’s outstanding season for the Sooners boosted his NFL draft stock, with many media outlets pegging him as a first- or second-round pick if he were to enter the April draft.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper says Murray would likely be a first-round pick, despite being just 5-foot-10.
“If he was three inches taller, he’d be the No. 1 pick in the draft,” said Kiper. “It wouldn’t even be a debate.”
Whichever sport he chooses, the junior does not appear likely to return for his final season of eligibility at Oklahoma.
Asked by Tebow if that remains a possibility, Murray laughed and said, “As of right now, no.”
Murray has 4,053 yards passing with 40 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, as well as 892 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. The Sooners nabbed the fourth seed in the College Football Playoff and will face Alabama in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 14.
—Field Level Media