Is Kyler Murray the best QB from Texas?

By Josh Weinfuss

Who is the best quarterback in Texas high school history? It’s a question that elicits laughs, stirs emotion and creates debate throughout the Lone Star State.
ESPN canvased Texas and dozens of names came back: Matthew Stafford, Andre Ware, Johnny Manziel, Vince Young, Patrick Mahomes, Y.A. Tittle, Drew Brees among them.
But it was Murray whom the vast majority singled out as best. He floored folks with his arm, his running talent and his résumé: 42-0 with three state championships from 2012 to 2014.
short image description
“I recruited out of there for 60 years. I’ve seen them all ... but what he accomplished is staggering.”
former Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer
short image description
Best in Texas
Is Kyler Murray No. 1?
“It’s hard to argue with a guy who hasn’t lost,” said another celebrated Texas QB, Garrett Gilbert. “... I mean, that's the name of the game, right?”
Experts around the state lauded the competition Murray faced at Allen High School, which is in the largest and most difficult classification.
short image description
“The guy’s production doesn’t just stop at wins, it’s what he wins. ... When you win the state championship in Texas, you’ve done something.”
former Kansas coach David Beaty, who spent much of his coaching career in Texas
short image description
Murray’s team success outweighs stats that were good, but did not set records.
Career Passing Yards (19th)
Season Passing Yards (15th)
Career Passing TDs (T-15th)
short image description
Best in Texas
Who is Murray's competition?
short image description
Not everyone had Murray No. 1, but most had him in their top five. Murray, after all, is one of 44 quarterbacks from Texas to start in the NFL since 1993.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who won a state championship at Highland Park in Dallas, was a top choice by some.
Stafford mentioned his backup in Detroit, Chase Daniel, who went 31-1 in two seasons as the starter at Southlake Carroll, winning one state title.
Daniel mentioned former Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who played at Westlake in Austin and finished in the top five of more lists than anyone but Murray.
Former Texas coach Tom Herman picked Andrew Luck out of Stratford in Houston.
North Carolina coach and former longtime Texas coach Mack Brown put Vince Young of Houston Madison atop his list, which also included Murray and Gilbert.
Highland Park coach Randy Allen mentioned Murray, Stafford and John Stephen Jones, who won two state titles and is the grandson of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“I truly believe that Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback that’s ever played in Texas,” said Whitehouse coach Adam Cook, who added, “Hands down, when you’re looking at production and stats, Kyler Murray is the guy.”
short image description
“It’s kinda like Jordan and Kobe and LeBron. You can go around and around and around. At one time, I held the state passing record.”
Ty Detmer, who set passing records at Southwest in San Antonio before winning the Heisman Trophy at BYU.
short image description
Best in Texas
How do you measure best?
It seems like everyone has their own ruler and their own set of parameters for who is best. By wins or titles, Murray would be at the top.
short image description
Some said it has to start with stats, which would put Grant Gunnell of Houston St. Pius X at the top, according to data from Dave Campbell’s Texas Football. Gunnell currently sits 1,700 yards ahead of second place.
All-Time Leader
Career passing yards
Some said it has to start with skill and talent, which sounds suspiciously like Mahomes.
For generations, high schools ran primarily ground-based schemes with QBs like Sammy Baugh. Most agree a Murray-like talent might have been missed.
But starting in the 1980s with Detmer’s father, Sonny, at Southwest and Hal Mumme’s Air Raid offense at Copperas Cove, the passing game took flight.
short image description
Best in Texas
Can it be done again?
With Murray at QB, Allen became one of 17 teams to win three consecutive state titles and one of 271 teams to go undefeated in Texas history. He was ESPN’s No. 1 overall recruit.
short image description
“I don’t think there will be one that comes along, who can do it with his arm and feet and who was that far along as a passer in fundamentals and technique and skill.”
Former Texas Tech and current Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury on Murray
short image description
ESPN polled quarterbacks, coaches, historians and journalists with a history in the state of Texas for this story.
Best in Texas: Poll Results
  • Edited by Chris Grandstaff
  • Additional photo research by John Klein
  • Produced by ESPN Creative Studio: Michelle Bashaw, Robert Booth, Nick Galac, Lori Higginbotham, Luke Knox, Joey Maese, and Sarah Pezzullo
  • Photo & Video: Getty Images, AP Images, Allen High School, Cal Sport Media, ZUMAPRESS, USA TODAY SPORTS, Whitehouse High School, St. Pius X High School, Tivy High School, Southlake Carroll High School, FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST, Sports Stars of Tomorrow,