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Kyler Murray's Oklahoma highlights: The plays that proved he could be a pro

Who could've guessed Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray's winding path would ultimately take him to the top of NFL draft boards?

The former blue-chip recruit out of Allen, Texas, initially struggled at Texas A&M. Then he transferred to Oklahoma, where he sat the bench behind Heisman winner Baker Mayfield.

Murray's future, meanwhile, began tilting heavily toward baseball, as he stunningly became the No. 9 pick in the MLB draft this past summer.

Yet not even the baseball team that drafted him could've envisioned what was to come. And so, the Oakland Athletics gave Murray one season to play college football before joining their minor league system.

That season turned out to be one of the finest in recent college football history, culminating with a Heisman Trophy win. In the process, Murray became a coveted potential NFL quarterback in addition to a top-flight baseball prospect. How Murray's future shakes out is anyone's guess, but these are the plays that made us believe Murray could be a star in the NFL:


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Murray heaves 51-yard TD to Brown

Kyler Murray stays patient in the pocket as he unleashes a long pass to a streaking Marquise Brown, who snatches the 51-yard Oklahoma touchdown.

Kyler's coming-out party

Going into the opener against Florida Atlantic, there were questions as to whether Murray could adequately succeed Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and keep the OU offense humming. From his first snap, Murray started answering those questions emphatically, most notably with a dazzling 15-yard scramble against Lane Kiffin's squad, which would foreshadow Murray's special season to come. At the end of the run, OU radio play-by-play announcer Toby Rowland declared, "Welcome to Sooner football, Kyler Murray." After which commentator Teddy Lehman replied, "Uh, I think it's gonna be a fun year."


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Murray finds space for 55-yard TD run

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray keeps it himself, finds the open hole and speeds 55 yards into the end zone for the touchdown.

Red River comeback

Strange as it might sound, one of Murray's signature plays -- and Heisman moments -- came in his lone regular-season loss, against Texas. The Sooners were down 45-24 in the fourth quarter and on the verge of being blown out and embarrassed, which would've severely damaged their playoff hopes. Instead, Murray led OU to three touchdowns in a span of about six minutes, highlighted by a breathtaking 67-yard touchdown run. Texas wound up winning the game. But Murray made his case as the best player in college football.


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Oklahoma scores on tremendous one-handed catch

Grant Calcaterra hauls in Kyler Murray's 18-yard touchdown pass with one hand.

Bedlam bomb throwing

Once again, because of their deficient defense, the Sooners were caught in a shootout, this time against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State. To hold off the Cowboys, Murray had to deliver a ton of big plays, including a gorgeous 51-yard heave to favorite target Marquise Brown in stride in the second half.


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Murray launches 49-yard TD to Rambo

Kyler Murray keeps Oklahoma alive with a perfect 49-yard touchdown pass to Charleston Rambo in the third quarter.

Running away with it

Murray showed all year that he could make all the requisite throws of an NFL-caliber quarterback. Before this season, in fact, nobody produced a higher passing efficiency, including Mayfield, than Murray did. Yet combining that with his athleticism and running ability is what has turned Murray into such a tantalizing pro quarterback prospect. That was on full display against Kansas, as Murray dashed 75 yards untouched for his third rushing touchdown of the night. All told, Murray would go on to become the first OU quarterback to run for more than 1,000 yards since Wishbone ace Jack Mildren did it in 1971.


Morgantown magic

One of the wildest games of the college football season was Oklahoma's 59-56 victory at West Virginia, which catapulted the Sooners into the Big 12 championship game. Among the fireworks was Murray's 55-yard touchdown keeper, in which he somehow evaded every West Virginia defender in his path, while setting the tone for another Sooner high-scoring victory.


Red River revenge

Murray and the Sooners were just a few minutes away from punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff. But they needed one more big offensive play to salt away their win in the rematch against Texas in the Big 12 title game. Facing third down, and the prospect of giving the Longhorns back the ball with a chance to tie and send the game to overtime, Murray tossed a perfect pass to tight end Grant Calcaterra, who hauled in the throw with one hand despite tight coverage for the 18-yard touchdown. That spectacular play clinched OU's fourth straight Big 12 championship.


Battle with Bama

Early on, it looked as if Murray and the OU offense would be overmatched against Alabama, which jumped to a 28-0 lead in the CFP semifinal. Murray, however, would come back and ignite a furious second-half comeback. On the fly, he flicked a 49-yard touchdown pass to Charleston Rambo in the end zone. The comeback came up short, as Alabama won, 45-34. But Murray left the Orange Bowl with NFL teams salivating about his potential at becoming a star at the pro level.