Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray won the 2018 Heisman Trophy following a 50-plus touchdown effort that helped the Sooners earn a College Football Playoff berth.
Outlandish as it sounds, this year’s Heisman Trophy winner might wind up on a baseball diamond in Burlington, Vermont.
Really. It could happen. Like, next summer.
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray captured one of the most prestigious trophies in sports on Saturday night, earning the distinction of being the nation’s most outstanding college football player.
But he plans to play professional baseball.
The Oakland Athletics took Murray ninth overall in this year’s Major League Baseball draft. The club paid him a $4.66 million signing bonus in the summer with the condition that he could play one more season of football at Oklahoma, an agreement it sounds like Murray plans to honor, according to reports.
And that means a stint with the Vermont Lake Monsters, Oakland’s short-season Single-A affiliate, could be in his future.
Quite often, new pros coming from the college ranks log time with an organization’s low-A outpost — like the Lake Monsters — before graduating up the food chain.
Pitcher A.J. Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of Florida in 2016, featured briefly with Vermont. Infielder Richie Martin, the No. 20 pick in 2015, logged 51 games in Vermont in that year. Current Major-Leaguer Addison Russell (No. 11, 2012) also spent time with the Lake Monsters his first year as a pro.
Murray, a speedy 5-foot-11 outfielder, batted .296 in 51 games for Oklahoma last year. He had 10 home runs, 53 RBIs, a .556 slugging percentage and a .991 fielding percentage.
The two-sport star’s production for the Sooners this fall was flat-out gaudy: He completed 70.9 percent of his passes for 4,053 yards, added 892 yards rushing and totaled 51 touchdowns.
Past Heisman winners have come close to playing at historic Centennial Field.
Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman while at Florida, took up professional baseball in 2016 after a three-year NFL career. An outfielder and DH in the New York Mets organization, he didn’t end up taking the field for their New York-Penn League affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Chris Weinke won the Heisman in 2000 while at Florida State — nine years after playing for the Toronto Blue Jays’ affiliate in the NYPL as an 18-year-old. Vermont didn’t join the league until 1994.
Contact Austin Danforth at 651-4851 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @eadanforth.