It’s time for Oklahoma to start planning for another statue at Heisman Park.
Quarterback Kyler Murray gave the Sooners their second straight Heisman winner and seventh overall, claiming the award Saturday in New York. With Baker Mayfield winning last season, Oklahoma became the first school with back-to-back Heisman winners since Army in 1945 and ’46 with its legendary backfield of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis.
Murray beat two other quarterback finalists, Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, with a late-season surge.
Murray had 2,167 points to Tagovailoa’s 1,871. Haskins finished with 783.
Already a millionaire after being drafted ninth overall by the Oakland A’s in the MLB draft, Murray struck gold in his first and almost certainly only season as a starter at Oklahoma. It was an unlikely rise for Murray.
While Murray was a top recruit out of Allen (Texas) High School — where he went 43-0 as a starter and won three state championships — he struggled in a muddled quarterback situation at Texas A&M and then sat out a year after transferring to OU. He spent last season as the Mayfield’s backup, only throwing 21 passes. He wasn’t officially named Oklahoma’s starter until Aug. 22.
Murray led Oklahoma (12-1) to its fourth consecutive Big 12 title and a berth in the College Football Playoff, facing Alabama in the semifinals Dec. 29 in the Capital One Orange Bowl. He leads the FBS in passing efficiency on what would be a record pace and ranks second in total offense (380.4 yards per game), while accounting for 51 touchdowns (40 passing, 11 rushing). He’s thrown for 4,053 yards and run for another 892.
Still, Tagovailoa was the betting favorite until the conference championship games despite seldom playing meaningful snaps in the fourth quarter. While Tagovailoa struggled against Georgia and eventually had to leave the game with an ankle injury in the SEC title game, Murray led Oklahoma over Texas for the Big 12 championship, accounting for 418 yards of total offense and throwing for three touchdowns while avenging the Sooners’ only loss.
Even though he signed a $4.6 million contract with the A’s before the season began, Murray has faced questions about whether he would also consider a pro football career as well as baseball.
Asked about it Friday while he and the other Heisman finalists made an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange, Murray told reporters his future has “already kind of been decided as of right now.” When the possibility of playing both sports was raised, Murray said: “I would love to do be able to do both if that was possible. I don’t know how possible that is.”
Murray joins Billy Vessels (1952), Steve Owens (1969), Billy Sims (1978), Jason White (2003), Sam Bradford (2008) and Mayfield (2017) as Oklahoma Heisman winners. The five players have statues across the street from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. A date for a Mayfield statue has yet to be set.
Oklahoma is now tied with Notre Dame and Ohio State (counting Archie Griffin twice) for the most Heisman winners with seven.