Stop me if you’ve heard this before:
A member of the national media is doubting – maybe even disrespecting – an Oklahoma quarterback.
No – I’m not taking about Baker Mayfield. Now that he’s gone and made himself the number 1 pick in the draft, this is (presumably) the Kyler Murray show. And now its his turn to be doubted.
Late Monday night, SportsDay tweeted out an article highlighting the fact that “college football guru” Phil Steele had ranked Texas, Texas A&M and SMU ahead of Oklahoma in his annual preseason quarterback rankings. Steele, whose magazine can be purchased here, has been publishing his season previews annually since 1995 and is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, in the business when it comes to forecasting team and individual performance.
It didn’t take long for the Sooners’ gunslinger to catch wind of the report. Just 30 minutes after the original tweet went up, Kyler had responded:
— Kyler Murray (@TheKylerMurray) July 10, 2018
And just like that, it was clear that a five-star, number one recruit (who also happens to be a newly-minted millionaire) could have a chip on his shoulder that’s just as big as the one carried by the legendary walk-on who came before him.
Honestly, Murray’s response here shouldn’t be all that surprising. He’s regularly criticized for his true freshman campaign at A&M, where he put up ok numbers but was never able to establish himself as the starter for the Aggies. Then, he transfers to Oklahoma and has to compete against – and now try to replace – Baker Mayfield, who is, you know, arguably the greatest college quarterback of all time.
As much as athletes like to say they drown out those sorts of comparisons and critiques, I think we all know that’s not true, particularly given the prevalence of social media. And Murray just unequivocally proved my (very unique) theory – he’s not drowning out the noise. He’s using it – and come August, seems determined to silence the noise with his play.
Oh – and by the way – Steele is incredibly high on the rest of Oklahoma’s offensive units in his preview. He pencils the Sooners in to have the nation’s no. 5 rushing attack, 4th ranked receiving corps and 5th best offensive line.
I would have to think being surrounded by top 5 weapons and protection in all of college football would help support elite quarterback play, but admittedly no one has ever called me a guru on anything.