Friday, December 14, 2012
Kyler Murray talented beyond his years
By Sam Khan Jr.
MESQUITE, Texas -- Allen (Texas) High School quarterback Kyler Murray is barely 15 but his on-field performance is the type of someone years older.
Perhaps it's in his blood. His father, Kevin Murray, starred at quarterback for Texas A&M in the mid-1980s.
Because Kevin is a former Aggie, a four-year letterman who led Texas A&M to consecutive Southwest Conference championships, Cotton Bowls and top-10 finishes, it stands to reason that Kyler grew up a fan of the maroon-and-white, right?
"I actually liked Texas growing up," Murray said after his team's recent playoff win over Dallas Skyline at Mesquite (Texas) Memorial Stadium.
And why, exactly, did he like the Aggies' rival when he was younger? The same reason many young boys grow attached to certain teams.
"They were good," Kyler said. "That was it."
Rest assured, that outlook has changed for Kyler, who counts the Aggies among his favorite teams since they, too, are good now.
"Now, yeah, I've grown to be an A&M fan," Kyler said. "A&M and Florida are my two favorite teams."
It doesn't hurt that the Aggies are showing early interest in the 5-foot-11, 170-pound signal caller. Murray is already showing his ability as a sophomore starter who has led a powerful Texas Class 5A program to the Division I semifinals, where they'll play DeSoto (Texas) High School on Saturday.
It has been five years since Allen coach Tom Westerberg has started a signal caller that young, but Murray is more than up to the challenge.
"He's a good kid," Westerberg said. "He plays hard and the bigger the game, the more relaxed he usually is. He's been playing good in big ballgames."
That was the case last Saturday, when he ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns and showed an assortment of movies and a bevy of athleticism against a talented, fast Dallas Skyline defense that has several Division I prospects of his own.
"He's very athletic," Westerberg said. "He's been like that all year. He's pretty athletic."
He also can throw it. This season the 2015 prospect has thrown for 1,860 yards and 15 touchdowns with just five interceptions while completing 63.8 percent of his passes for the Eagles. While he clearly has speed, he said his mindset is pass first.
"My first thought is throw the ball," he said. "But if I have to run it, I'll run it. That run first, whatever, I like to sit back there and throw the ball. But I'll do whatever I have to do for my team to win."
It's early in the recruiting process but the Aggies have already shown legitimate interest. Receivers coach David Beaty stopped by Allen to watch Murray. As for his height, Murray isn't concerned about it.
"I mean I just turned 15," he said.
It also helps having a father who played the position. Kevin spends time tutoring quarterbacks from around the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"He's helped me out a lot," Kyler Murray said. "Before every game he's always telling me to go out there and play hard and play like you know how to play and if it's there, throw it. If it's not, just pull it down and run it. He's taught me. He put down foundation for me when I was young."
And he likes what he sees from the Aggies these days.
"I love it [the Aggies' success in the SEC]," he said. "It's different seeing it. When my dad was there they actually won. It's different now seeing them on ESPN winning games and not getting killed. They're getting lots of TV time."