The notion that Kyle Murray
emerged from relative obscurity to earn the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma and now is the projected No. 1 pick in Thursday's NFL Draft simply isn't so.
Yes, he left Texas A&M after a rocky freshman season, sat out 2016, backed up another Heisman trophy winner Baker Mayfield
in 2017 before last year's breakout campaign of 5,362 total yards and 54 total touchdowns.
But before all that, there is a serious case to be made that Murray is the greatest high school quarterback of all-time.
Video: Kyler Murray high school highlights
Watch the projected No. 1 player in Thursday's NFL draft make play after play in high school.
Consider the following:
• He's the only two-time MaxPreps National Player of the Year, leading Allen (Texas)
, one of the largest schools in the Lone Star state, to back-to-back MaxPreps National Titles in 2013 and 2014.
• As a starter, he was 43-0 and the Eagles won three straight state titles, the last at the highest 6A-1 level.
• Also a baseball star, he was named the MaxPreps 2014-15 overall National Athlete of the Year
and was selected the 2014 National Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
• In three seasons, he accounted for 14,525 yards (10,386 passing, 4,139 rushing), 186 touchdowns (117 passing, 69 rushing), while completing 63 percent of his passes. He threw 22 interceptions.
• He was best when it counted most. In the 2013 state title game, a 63-28 win over Pearland, he completed 11-of-14 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 188 yards and another score. In the 2014 state title game, a 47-16 win over Cypress Creek, he completed 22-of-32 throws for 316 yards and five TDs and no interceptions.
If the numbers and awards don't tell the stories, consider this testimonial from Randy Jennings, a prep writer in Texas since 1975, who has covered many of the state's greatest quarterbacks, such as Mayfield, Matt Stafford
, Colt McCoy
, Ryan Mallett
, Graham Harrell and Chase Daniel
"He's flatly the best high school quarterback I've ever covered," Jennings said. "I can remember two or three games, Allen looked absolutely beat, but he just pulled them out of the fire."
A couple of those wins were over DeSoto, where coach Claude Mathis watched helplessly. Mathis, who left the program in 2014 to coach at SMU but returned this spring, also called Murray the best high school quarterback he's ever seen in Texas.
Remember, the state also boasts Drew Brees
, Andrew Luck
, Patrick Mahomes
, Nick Foles
, Garrett Gilbert
and Vince Young, to name a few.
"I can only speak to who I saw and who we played against, but he was by far the best we ever went against," Mathis said. "He made up for his lack of size by the way he studied and dissected the game, how he could beat you with his feet and arm, the way he always found windows and just make play after play after play."
DeSoto seemingly had Allen beat a couple of times during Mathis' run, most notably a 42-35 Allen 5A-1 semifinal playoff win during a blustery day at Mesquite Memorial Stadium.
"There's eight minutes left, we're way up (35-20), their fans are literally leaving the stadium," Mathis said. "I look over and (Murray) is talking things up on the sideline with his offensive linemen. I can tell, he's not giving up. I'm thinking, ‘Oh no.' I tell our guys, whatever we do, we can't give up the big play."
Murray (11-of-27) had struggled until then. But immediately he fired a 68-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton. That's all it took. Jennings, who covered the game, said: "He just took over. He just willed the win. His ability to make plays was unbelievable."
It didn't defy logic. Yes, small for his position — he was listed at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds (he's now been measured at 5-10) — but supremely athletic, Murray was also mentored and coached by his father Kevin Murray, a former quarterback at Texas A&M.
The elder Murray now is considered a specialty coaching guru throughout Texas, offering lessons to aspiring young QBs throughout the state. The game is now second nature to Kyler.
"I mean, the kid can get from zero to 100 miles per hour in about a second," Jennings said. "You can't really coach that. But he was so well-schooled on the fundamentals. He was so good at reading defenses. It's like he could see the field from a camera above the field."
Last fall, MaxPreps writer Kevin Askeland examined high school quarterbacks over the last 70 years, considered more than 300 and picked the top 50
. He ranked Murray No. 9 behind Hall of Famers like Joe Namath, John Elway and Dan Marino, future inductee Peyton Manning, and four other quarterbacks who made it to the NFL.
Askeland weighed NFL careers into his formula, which obviously Murray has yet to begin. His journey begins Thursday.
"I'm not sure how his game will translate to the NFL," Jennings said. "It will be fun to see. It's hard to believe anything could possibly beat his high school days. He was just awesome."