Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray is committed to his baseball career with the Oakland A's. That's the plan "as of right now," according to the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner and his agent.
Sports Illustrated reported Thursday that Murray's name showed up on the list for evaluations by the College Advisory Committee, a panel of senior personnel evaluators from NFL teams and directors. Requesting or receiving an evaluation from the CAC does not indicate that Murray has entered the 2019 NFL Draft, but it reinforces the idea that the door to professional football is going to be left open.
"Kyler has agreed and the A's agreed to a baseball contract that gave him permission to play college football through the end of the collegiate season," Murray's agent, Scott Boras, told the NFL Network last week. "After that, he is under contract to play baseball. That is not a determination to make. It's already done."
That has not shaken the belief from some NFL scouts and evaluators that Murphy will ultimately choose football over baseball, particularly if he gets a first-round evaluation back.
Several scouts who visited Oklahoma this season came away with the impression that Murray was going to enter the NFL draft, and were surprised by Boras's comments that Murray would fulfill his contract with the A's. "They [Oklahoma football staff] were pretty sure that he was going to play football, that he was going to finish this year out and that he was going to be ready for the draft," says one scout who visited Norman late this season. "I'm sure every scout that went through there wrote him up, because that's what they were telling you by the end of the season."
At the MLB winter meetings this week in Las Vegas, Boras told reporters that Murray's intention was indeed still to be at spring training but that "when you win the Heisman Trophy, you're going to have a lot of information come to you and be looked at."
Players' names are submitted to the CAC by the school, and according to SI, the Sooners submitted four (of up to five) names to the board for evaluation. The three grades for players indicated first round or second round status, and then a recommendation to return to school. Evaluators are reportedly mixed on Murray's pro prospects, but the Heisman and a College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama have only increased the interest in seeing the Sooners' latest star quarterback in the NFL.
Murray will have to decide whether his name is available for the NFL Draft by Jan. 14, the deadline by which underclassmen must apply for early entry. He could do that and tell teams that he plans to play baseball, but it may be telling nevertheless.