Oklahoma's quarterback competition took an unexpected twist at the Major League Baseball draft.
Kyler Murray, the favorite to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as the Sooners' starter this year, was selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.
The speedy Murray has been a major league prospect since high school. He played outfield for the Sooners this baseball season and hit .296 with 10 homers, 13 doubles and three triples in 189 at-bats.
Still, his selection so early in the first round was a surprise, and could mean a change in career paths for the former five-star football recruit.
The slot value for the No. 9 pick is $4,761,500. If the A's don't sign him, they would lose that amount from their available bonus pool of $9,553,200 this year but would get the No. 8 pick as compensation next year. The deadline for Murray to sign is July 6.
He could sign with the Athletics and still play this coming season for Oklahoma, putting his baseball career on hold until 2019. But would Oakland want to risk their 5-foot-11, 195-pound first-rounder playing a season of football — especially as a dual-threat quarterback in the Big 12?
"I think that Oakland obviously feels that there are certain inherently appealing aspects to being a professional baseball player that put us in a position to be competitive for the very best athletes, and that's important for the future of our sport," Commissioner Rob Manfred said at the baseball draft in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Murray was one of the most celebrated high school football players in Texas history, going 42-0 as a starter and leading powerhouse Allen High to three state titles before signing with Texas A&M in 2015. He played eight games and made three starts as a freshman for the Aggies, passing for 686 yards and running for 335. But he left the team before its bowl game and transferred to Oklahoma the next season.
He sat out to satisfy NCAA rules in 2016, and figured to be in line to start in 2017. But Mayfield, who also transferred to Oklahoma, was granted an extra year of eligibility and returned to the Sooners for his final college season.
That left Murray with limited playing time in 2017. He completed 18 of 21 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 142 yards on 14 carries. He made one start, playing the first series against West Virginia after Mayfield was benched for sideline antics against Kansas the week before. Oklahoma reached the College Football Playoff last year, losing in overtime to Georgia in the Rose Bowl semifinals.
With Mayfield off to the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in April, Murray was set to get his turn at the helm. Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley declined to name a starter after spring practice, when Murray competed with sophomore Austin Kendall.
During the spring game, Murray completed 11 of 21 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown and rushed nine times for 35 yards. Kendall completed 11 of 18 passes for 134 yards and a score. Murray is small for an NFL quarterback, but that size is not as much of an issue in college. He is a potentially dynamic player who could make Oklahoma the Big 12 favorites again.
"I fully expect him to be with us," Riley told reporters in Norman, Oklahoma, last week.
After Murray was selected by the Athletics, Oklahoma football's official Twitter account posted: "Congrats @TheKylerMurray! #OUDNA"
AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report from Secaucus, New Jersey.
This article was written by cool news network.