Let the battle begin.
Texas A&M has a budding young starting quarterback in sophomore Kyle Allen, but it appears he'll get plenty of competition this summer from the Aggies' highly regarded 2015 quarterback recruit, ESPN 300 prospect Kyler Murray.
Murray, a dual-sport star at Allen (Texas) High School, announced via Twitter on Wednesday that he plans to "opt out" of the MLB draft and head to Texas A&M to play football and baseball. Considering Murray is the No. 1 quarterback in the 2015 class and maybe the most decorated quarterback Texas high school football has ever seen, that means the quarterback position just became much more interesting in Aggieland.
Allen, who was the No. 1 pocket passer in the 2014 recruiting class, has a significant head start. He has two offseasons' worth of time at Texas A&M to learn and master the Aggies' offense and most importantly, five starts under his belt. That included three games against SEC teams and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, where Allen won game MVP honors.
Nothing is given, however, and Texas A&M offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital made that clear. Allen won't automatically be the starter in 2015. Murray will get a fair chance to compete right away.
When Spavital and head coach Kevin Sumlin made an in-home visit with the Murrays in late January, less than a week before national signing day, both coaches made it crystal clear that they weren't going to guarantee a starting spot to anyone.
"I'm a guy that I'm not going to guarantee starting time," Spavital said then. "I think that's unfair to the people we have here on campus that have come in and put the work into it ... but you can come in and compete and have the opportunity and the rest is up to you. It's up to you to win that job."
By focusing on his future at Texas A&M and not the MLB draft, Murray is set to enroll in school in time for the first summer school session in June, meaning he'll have the entire summer to compete with Allen. Murray has plenty of ground to make up, but his credentials are strong and his dual-threat ability makes him an intriguing option for the Aggies' offense after seeing what dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel did in two seasons under Sumlin.
For those wondering if it's simply a ploy by the Murrays to gain leverage in potential negotiations with MLB teams, ESPN baseball insider Keith Law said Wednesday that three sources told him Murray took steps to have his name removed from the draft pool. Additionally, Baseball America and FanGraphs also reported Wednesday that Murray asked to be taken out of the draft pool, meaning a team won't be able to choose him and try to woo him with a large signing bonus. In 2011, Dallas Jesuit product Josh Bell was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, spent the summer taking 12 credit hours and working out at the University of Texas -- the school he signed a letter of intent with -- but ultimately inked a deal with the Pirates when they offered him a $5 million signing bonus just before the signing deadline.
That option appears to be out the window for Murray now, who will focus on football and baseball at Texas A&M. Spavital, who communicates with Murray about "every other day," he said, was quietly confident this spring that Murray will end up in maroon and white.
Spavital referenced his conversations with Murray over the last several months on Wednesday afternoon on Texas A&M athletics' "Studio 12" radio show on KZNE-AM in College Station, Texas.
"Kyler and I, we've been talking a lot about this over the last few months," Spavital told the show. "I kind of felt he was going to be leaning toward this decision and I told him I was going to support him no matter what happened. To be in that situation is unbelievable, especially for a kid his age. But I was fired up when he told me the news that he was coming and he'll be here June 1. I told him that I'm ready to get to work and get this thing started and try to get him up to speed with the offense as fast as I possibly can."
Anyone who has spent time with Murray can speak to his passion for football. That much was evident during his run to 42-0 and three state championships. In the final weeks of his senior season, when Allen was two wins away from that third title, he said it consumed him. The drive to leave a lasting legacy, to "hopefully go down in history as one of the best to ever do it, if not the best," he said was immense.
His father, former Texas A&M star quarterback Kevin Murray, told ESPN.com in February that Kyler actually considered giving up baseball before second semester of his junior year.
"He wanted to quit baseball two years ago," Kevin Murray said. "I said 'Kyler, you're not going to do that, because we want to keep all of your options open. That's what life's about.' He understood that. I know why he wanted to quit. At the time, they were coming off back-to-back state championships, baseball consumed a lot of his time and I totally got that, but I felt like, big picture, one day he'd be in this situation that he's in now."
Based on Kyler's tweet he's postponing a baseball future for the chance to write the next chapter in Aggieland. Baseball will still be an option for him down the road, should he later choose to pursue it professionally and he'll certainly be an asset to coach Rob Childress' club on the diamond. The window to prove that he can succeed on the SEC gridiron though -- even at 5-foot-11 -- only exists for these next few years and it's understandable that someone as competitive as Murray would want to scratch that itch.
Will he start this season? If not, when will his time come? Can he go from being one of Texas high school football's greatest quarterbacks to one who makes a lasting impact in college football?
Those are questions that won't be answered for awhile. For now, attention turns to August, when Texas A&M holds its preseason training camp and the quarterback competition between Allen and Murray will intensify following summer workouts. Meanwhile, Sumlin, Spavital and the Aggies can kick back and enjoy what appears to be an embarrassment of riches at football's most important position.