TULSA, Okla. — Lincoln Riley isn’t going to sweat next week’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. According to the Oklahoma football coach, quarterback Kyler Murray has told him there’s nothing to worry about.
“I’ve had plenty of conversations with Kyler and his family and I fully expect him to be with us,” Riley said on Thursday prior to the OU Caravan stop at the Schusterman Center on the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa campus. “I really don’t have any worries about it.”
Murray is battling sophomore Austin Kendall for the right to replace Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft Baker Mayfield as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback.
But Murray is a two-sport star. He batted .296 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI during the regular season and Big 12 Tournament. The Sooners open NCAA Tournament play at noon ET on Friday against Mississippi State in the Tallahassee Regional.
Murray suffered a hamstring strain during the conference tournament and is considered day-to-day. Riley monitored the quarterback/center fielder’s health and isn’t concerned about that, either.
“He’s gonna have to learn how to manage it,” Riley said. “He’s a guy that’s been pretty healthy throughout his athletic career. He’s had very few injuries. When you have something minor like that that can also be nagging there’s an element of learning how you have to deal with it and also preparing your body to make sure it doesn’t happen. We’ve already had a pretty good conversation about that. Our medical staff will address it as soon as we get our hands on him.”
One thing that will change for Murray this summer is once Oklahoma’s baseball season ends, he will go straight into football. Last season, Murray went and played baseball in the Cape Cod League throughout June.
Last season was different. The Sooners had Mayfield. Riley wants his quarterback with the team for as much of summer workouts as possible.
“He’ll be with us this summer,” Riley said.
Murray is projected as a top-50 prospect in the MLB draft, which would put him in line for a seven-figure signing bonus. However, a major part of a player’s draft stock is his willingness to sign. If Murray and his family have told MLB scouts and personnel that he’s unwilling to sign for less than a certain signing bonus, his stock will fall.
Murray was projected as a top-100 prospect in the 2015 MLB Draft when he was a senior at Allen (Texas) High School. Murray wasn’t selected because he told teams he would play football at Texas A&M. Murray transferred to Oklahoma in December 2015.
Riley was in his first year as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator back then. But his relationship with Murray hasn’t changed. Murray is free to pursue baseball. Riley is willing to sign more multi-sport athletes.
“If they can handle it I think it can be a positive. There are other ones out there that can, too,” Riley said. “I think it sends a message to those other recruits that if that’s something they desire if they come do it the right way then Oklahoma will give them that opportunity.”