Kyler Murray is The Associated Press college football Player of the Year, the second straight Oklahoma quarterback and fifth overall to win the award since it was established in 1998.
Murray beat out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on 56 ballots submitted by AP college football poll voters and announced Thursday. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. was third.
“It’s humbling and an honor to be named AP Player of the Year, to be mentioned in the same realm as a lot of great players, a lot of hall of famers,” Murray said. “It’s a special deal for me and hopefully I can continue to make my family and teammates proud.”
Murray received 39 first-place votes and a total of 145 points. Tagovailoa received 13 first-place votes (117 points) and Haskins was listed first on four ballots (55 points).
All three are finalists for the Heisman Trophy , which will be presented Saturday night in New York. Murray and Tagovailoa will face each other in the College Football Playoff, when No. 1 Alabama plays No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl semifinal on Dec. 29.
Murray joins Baker Mayfield (2017), Josh Heupel (2000), Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008) as previous winners from Oklahoma. No other school has had more than two players win AP Player of the Year.
Murray, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound junior from Allen, Texas, won the award in his final year as a college athlete. The Oakland Athletics took Murray with the ninth pick in the Major League Baseball draft in June. Murray, who batted .296 with 10 home runs and 13 doubles in 50 games as the Sooners’ center fielder, signed for nearly $5 million, with the A’s agreeing to let him return to school and play football this season .
Murray was Mayfield’s backup last season and won the starter’s job in preseason practice. He went on to become one of three 4,000-yard passers in the nation and threw for 40 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 892 yards and 11 TDs.
Murray leads the country in total offense (4,945 yards), points responsible for (306) and passing efficiency (205.7).
Murray started his career at Texas A&M, where his father, Kevin Murray, set season and career passing records as the Aggies’ quarterback in the mid-1980s. Kyler Murray transferred to Oklahoma after his freshman season, sat out a season per transfer rules and then backed up Mayfield.
“It’s been a long journey with a lot of waiting, but I think it’s all been worth it,” Murray said. “All the hard work with my teammates has really paid off.”
Murray also is a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top quarterback and Maxwell Award as the best player. Those awards and others will be presented Thursday night at ESPN’s college football awards show in Atlanta.
By ERIC OLSON, AP College Football Writer