Saturday, December 8, 2018

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray wins 2018 Heisman Trophy

Photo Credit: Mike Stobe- Getty Images

By: Jeff Hauser

Twitter: @radiohauser

Kyler Murray etched his name in college football history to become the second straight Oklahoma quarterback to win a Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

Murray’s career year of throwing for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns is presumably his last in the game of football.  The future baseball prospect’s trip to New York gave him college football’s most prestigious award over fellow quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa from Alabama and Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State.

Murray becomes the seventh Heisman winner in OU history. A tie with Ohio State and Notre Dame for the most by any school going back to 1943.

The votes were close, but not by a slim margin some thought. Murray picked up 517 first-place votes and 2,167 points overall to gain a 296-point margin over Tagovailoa in second place, and Haskins was a distance third. Murray was named on 92 percent of all Heisman ballots, the third highest total all-time.

"This is crazy," Murray said in accepting the award. "This is an honor. Something that I'll never forget, something I'll always cherish for the rest of my life."

Many critics considered Tagovailoa the Heisman front-runner throughout most of the season, but was beat out by Murray who’s on pace to become the only player in FBS history to average 300 passing yards and 60 rushing yards per game. Tagovailoa performance in the SEC Championship game with two interceptions and an early departure with an ankle injury weighed heavy at the worst time of the season. Although, Tagovailoa’s runner-up finish was the best by an Alabama quarterback in Heisman voting. He picked up more points than A.J. McCarron, who came up short to FSU’s Jameis Winston in 2013.

As an outfielder for the Sooners, Murray was drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in this year’s MLB draft. He has the potential to play on Sunday’s in the NFL, but will forgo his final year of eligibility in college to focus on baseball.  Murray has already signed a $4.6 million contract with the A’s. 

Murray follows Baker Mayfield as the second Sooners player to win the award in consecutive years. It marks the third time in Heisman history players from the same school won the award in back-to-back years. Yale’s Larry Kelley and Clint Frank won in 1936-37; along with Army’s Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis in 1945-46. (Not including Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman win for USC in 2005 followed by Matt Leinart’s the next year.)

A rare feat for Murray who’s now the third player in history to transfer from another school and win the Heisman. He started his college career at Texas A&M before landing in Norman with the Sooners. Mayfield did it after spending a year at Texas Tech and Blanchard was at North Carolina to start his time before joining the Black Knights.

Murray is set to be the third Heisman winner to pursue a career in Major League Baseball, joining Auburn’s Bo Jackson and Ohio State’s Vic Janowicz.

No. 4 Oklahoma plays No. 1 Alabama in the Orange Bowl as part of the College Football Playoff Semifinal on Dec. 29.