Oklahoma's Austin Kendall may indicate Kyler Murray's future by entering transfer portal

Oklahoma backup quarterback Austin Kendall has put himself into the transfer portal, opening up the possibility for him to play somewhere else next season. With the 2018 season over and spring ball around the corner, there have been several high profile names putting themselves out there recently for other schools to contact, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts chief among them. Kendall's name may not be as big as Hurts, but his decision to explore his options is nevertheless intriguing. 

Why? His decision may or may not give us a glimpse inside the mind of Kyler Murray. The Heisman Trophy winner was long presumed to be headed for the MLB after being drafted by the Oakland A's last summer and signing close to a $5 million bonus. However, despite what Murray's representative Scott Boras insists, there has been a growing belief over the past few months that Murray might try the NFL Draft instead and test his luck as a pro quarterback. 

In one season as the Sooners' starter, Murray amassed 5,361 yards of total offense and 54 touchdowns while Oklahoma won a Big 12 title and made a College Football Playoff appearance. If he gets a first-round grade from enough teams -- this is, after all, a relatively weak quarterback class -- he could declare and still likely receive plenty of guaranteed money in his rookie contract. In fact, he could get way more than he would have with the A's with the added value of any and all endorsement deals that the face of a NFL franchise enjoys. 

There is another option for Murray, though: Return to Oklahoma for his senior season. While the notion of Murray doing anything athletically for another year without earning a salary for his talents seems absurd, it would allow Murray to continue to play football and baseball. NFL Network analyst Gil Brandt recently expanded on this idea with the following rationale as the backdrop: Murray truly loves playing both. If Murray decides to pursue one of those sports professionally, he will in all reality have to commit to that sport and only that sport. 

If Kendall is looking at his options, Murray may in fact be mulling that third choice harder than many might realize. Of course, Kendall could be looking into a transfer for other reasons and technically being in the portal doesn't definitively mean that he will transfer, only that he is looking into it. If he does move on from the Sooners, he will be eligible to play immediately with two years remaining.

But the portal news is interesting, to say the least, given Murray's well-documented struggle in determining his future. He has options, that's for sure. Long term, baseball may still be the safest route for him. However, it's also abundantly clear Murray loves football and he wanted to prove this past season he could play football at a high level. Pro football would also allow him to cash in on his momentum more immediately. 

Until Murray makes an announcement himself, consider all choices on the table. The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL Draft, by the way, is Monday, Jan. 14. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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