Oklahoma’s phenom quarterback, Kyler Murray has been announced as the 2018 Heisman winner. Unlike in previous years, the Heisman race came down to the waning minutes of the season in which Kyler Murray’s performance against rival Texas in the Big 12 Championship game likely gave him the edge over Alabama’s, Tua Tagovailoa.
Kyler Murray’s journey to a Heisman trophy is nothing short of phenomenal. Murray first cemented himself in Texas high school football history with his undefeated run at Allen HS topping off his senior season with a third straight state title and being named the Gatorade National Athlete of the Year award. He would later sign with Texas A&M where his career would experience it’s first real setback.
Murray would eventually replace Kyle Allen, the quarterback who won the starting job in fall camp, and after a promising start him and the Aggies season spiraled downward. With the drama in college station peaking, Murray along with Allen would announce their intent to transfer. Fast-forward to December 24th, 2015, the Sooners get an early Christmas present when Murray announces his decision to head to Norman.
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A new start under a new offensive coordinator didn’t come without setbacks. After sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules, Murray would serve as backup once again, this time to a former walk-on, Baker Mayfield. Murray would see limited time as Mayfield had an historic season and took home his own Heisman Trophy and would go first overall in last year’s NFL Draft.
Enter the 2018 season. One in which the Sooners are expected to be an outsider on the CFB Playoff race. A season without one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play college ball. A season without go-to TE, Mark Andrews and without the protection of elite left-tackle, Orlando Brown. A season that a young Oklahoma team was expected to and certainly had their fair share of struggles. Yet despite the flaws, the faults and the struggles, one factor allowed the Sooners to overcome it all — the dynamic quarterback play of Kyler Murray.
Many will point to the blazing speed or the big arm of Murray when explaining why he took home college football’s most prestigious award. However many will fail to credit Murray’s incredible feel for the game of football. How he not only finds a way to win but makes a win. How he responds in Oklahoma’s most urgent moments. His quiet confidence and how he elevates his team to be better than the sum of their parts. Athletic ability is one thing, but the marks of a Heisman winner aren’t just what he can do as an individual, but what he can do with those around him.
It’s been said before that we won’t realize the greatness of Baker Mayfield won’t be realized until we see what Oklahoma is without him. Now, one year later, we’ll be saying the same thing about his former back-up and now fellow Heisman fraternity member, Kyler Murray.
Murray’s effort also gives Oklahoma back-to-back Heisman winners. His statue will sit along with the likes of Billy Vessles, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White, Sam Bradford and Baker Mayfield in Heisman Park. He’ll now lead the Sooners into the College Football Playoff Semi-Finals against the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.