Friday, April 11, 2014
Getting to know Kyler Murray
By Gerry Hamilton
Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.
DESOTO, Texas -- When describing quarterbacks, there are certain words and terms that are often used.
Those often heard are winner, clutch, leader, resilient, precise, competitive, field general, accurate, playmaker, calm, cool and collected, among others.
In the case of Under Armour All-America quarterback Kyler Murray, they might all apply.
Kyler Murray has reached the pinnacle of Texas high school football twice already, leading Allen High School to two consecutive Class 5A Division I state championships.
Not only is Murray undefeated as the starting quarterback at Texas powerhouse Allen High (27-0), but he has led the Eagles to back-to-back 5A Division I state titles.
While the budding two-sport star has hoisted a pair of state championship trophies the last two Decembers and put up 468 total yards in the 2013 5A Division I state title game -- taking MVP honors in front of a state record 54,347 fans -- it’s the fourth-quarter comeback in the regional final against DeSoto last season that best describes Murray.
Down 15 points in the fourth quarter on a cold and windy day, Murray put Allen on his back, erasing the deficit with a 68-yard touchdown pass and 24-yard scoring run to send the Eagles to the state semifinals in dramatic fashion.
DeSoto coach Claude Mathis had a front row seat to witness Murray’s come-from-behind heroics against a very talented DeSoto defense.
“Going into the game against [Murray], we knew he was going to get his,” Mathis said. “We felt that we had to keep the ball out of his hands if the game was on the line. If he had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the ballgame, we knew he could win it, and that’s what he did. We tried to keep him contained in the pocket, and we did sack him the most times anyone has, but he can make plays with his arm and his feet, and that is exactly what he did.”
A fierce competitor, Murray lives for big games. When the pressure is on, he takes his game to another level and lifts his team.
“I can’t wait for those chances to play against top players and teams,” Murray said. “As we went deeper in our playoff run, all of us had to step up our game because we were playing teams with a lot of Division I prospects. I had to take it to another level, the receivers had to run sharper routes ... everyone had to step up their game.”
If Murray’s star doesn’t shine bright enough on the football field, he’s also one of the top baseball prospects in the country.
A second baseman and leadoff hitter with power and speed, he is getting interest from Major League Baseball scouts. He is currently batting .451 with a Dallas/Fort Worth area leading seven home runs, 15 extra base hits, 26 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
Murray knows there could be a potential football vs. baseball decision placed in front of him next June.
“I have always played since I was younger growing up -- I love it,” he said. “You can go far in baseball, and we will see what happens later on. The money in baseball is ridiculous ... everyone knows that. I kind of have an athletic advantage in baseball. I have a family that knows what they are doing in baseball and has ties to baseball. My uncle played in the major leagues, and I actually have a low-first round grade right now.”
With the MLB draft more than a year away, playing football on the collegiate level remains Murray’s top focus, and next week he will be hopping a plane to take a look at one of his favorite schools.
“I’m going to Oregon on April 13 and 14, and that’s it right now," he said. "I might go down to Texas as well."
For Oregon, Texas or any other school that hopes to land one of the nation’s top dual-threat prospects, programs must overcome a strong relationship with the Texas A&M staff.
“I’ve been talking to Coach Spav [Jake Spavital] and Coach [David] Beaty,” Murray said. “You know, Spav’s my dude. He’s like a brother to all the quarterbacks there. He’s a young dude.”
About his recruitment: Murray’s recruitment began with many penciling him in for Texas A&M due to his father, Kevin Murray, having played quarterback for the Aggies. The other factors are the proximity to his home, the scheme fit under Kevin Sumlin and the fact that A&M has recruiting momentum started by Heisman-winning signal-caller Johnny Manziel. Now, over a year into Murray’s recruitment, the Aggies remain strong in the race, with Oregon and Clemson also having Murray’s attention. Texas was in the mix early, but the coaching change has all but taken the Longhorns out. Oklahoma is not likely, but it has shown more interest of late.
Scouting profile: Murray is one of those guys who is so productive and physically gifted that the more you watch him, the less concerned you become about his size. Possesses a quick, smooth over-the-top delivery, which actually aids throws from within the pocket to decrease chances of batted down balls. Ball comes out with pop and is compact. Shows command and poise with outstanding presence and awareness for his surroundings. He’s the ultimate spread weapon. He’s a passer that happens to be a great athlete and possesses a highly competitive demeanor. He possesses an elite skill set for today’s game. -- Tom Luginbill
Handicapping the race: Texas A&M remains the odds-on favorite to land Murray, due to a near-perfect scheme fit and being close to home. If Clemson was closer to home, the Tigers would be a true threat, as the scheme is a fit and there is a strong relationship with offensive coordinator Chad Morris. While Oregon is appealing, distance is a factor and while the Ducks’ scheme is a fit, it’s not as much of a fit as Texas A&M’s.