OU fans got an early Christmas gift out of nowhere when mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve the OU program released the following: ‘Former Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray has signed a financial aid agreement with Oklahoma and will join the Sooners' football program starting with the 2016 spring semester, OU head coach Bob Stoops announced Thursday.’
Murray waffled late in the 2015 recruiting process after having committed to Kevin Sumlin and it looked like the Sooners might pull off a last-minte stunner. But in the end, the 5-10 son of legendary A & M QB Kevin Murray stuck with Kevin Sumlin – at least for ten months or so.
Murray was a sensational duel-threat prepster and was the 2014-15 National Gatorade Football Player of the Year as a senior at Allen High School. He was 43-0 as Allen’s starting QB and led his team to three consecutive state championships. Incredibly, he threw for 4,713 yards and 43 TDs while rushing for 1,485 and 25 TDs as a senior. A 5-star recruit, he was ESPN’s 13rh rated overall player.
Murray beat out another five-star Sumlin signee, Kyle Allen, and played eight games as a true freshman making three starts. Good numbers, except his touchdown to interception ratio (5 TDs TO 7 INTs). He totaled 1,021 yards of total offense (686 passing and 335 rushing) completing 72 of 121 pass attempts (59.5 percent). He also led the team among players who rushed the ball at least 20 times with a 6.3 yards per rush average.
"We're very happy to welcome Kyler to our program and we look forward to working with him," said Stoops, the 2015 Big 12 Coach of the Year.
The signing of Murray will no doubt boost OU’s late recruiting haul. Winning the school’s ninth Big 12 Championship in the Stoops Era and earning a spot in the College Football Playoff has already paid big dividends with a recruiting class that started slowly but is finishing fast.
Presumably, both Murray and Allen transferred in part because each was promised playing time. No doubt, both players had lost faith in Sumlin, and perhaps others on the staff.
Critics around the Aggie program have speculated Murray carried himself in a way that turned off some teammates; that he sent messages of being entitled.
One thing is for sure. At Oklahoma, that doesn’t work. Players love playing for Stoops and they have their share of fun. But if there ever was a coach who stood for an atmosphere that does not allow entitlement, it’s Stoops. I don’t know how much, if any of the speculation about Murray – also a baseball star – is true. But, for as great as he was in high school and is great a prospect as he is, being ‘team-first’ is a prerequisite at Oklahoma.
I asked Stoops about his other QB signee, Austin Kendall, after the taping of his postseason TV show Monday morning. He was extremely complimentary of Austin Kendall, a highly regarded four-star recruit out of Waxhaw, N. C.
Stoops said Kendall, a bell cow of the 2016 signing class, recently put on a show in a game after the season, and is much more mobile than some might have been led to believe. Stoops says Kendall throws it extremely well and is considered a drop back passer, but is not the prototypical one that is statuesque in the pocket. Kendall is ranked the nation’s No. 4 pro style QB.
Kendall signed on October 27th and begins at OU in January. He’ll be joined by Murray, who must sit out a season, and will be eligible in 2017, which happens to be the year after Baker Mayfield finishes his career with the Sooners.
Stoops and his Sooner program have come a million miles in the past year. The wily veteran coach will tell you that on the field, it all begins with quarterback play – always has, always will. And now, with the signing of Murray, the Sooners have a pair of the most highly-rated young QBs in America to lead them into what are likely the final years of the Stoops tenure.