Kyler Murray Named 2018 Associated Press Player of the Year

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates after beating Texas 39-27 in the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Jeffrey McWhorter/Associated Press

Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins Jr. are all Heisman Trophy finalists, but the Sooners quarterback has bragging rights over his fellow signal-callers prior to Saturday's ceremony.

Eric Olson of the Associated Press reported Murray was named the AP's Player of the Year. Tagovailoa finished in second place, while Haskins came in third.

Murray continued a rich tradition of excellence for Oklahoma quarterbacks, as Baker Mayfield (2017), Sam Bradford (2008), Jason White (2003) and Josh Heupel (2000) also won this honor. The Sooners now have five AP Player of the Year awards and are the only team with more than two.

The AP Top 25 shared some of the accolades that helped Murray win the award:

AP Top 25 @AP_Top25

BREAKING: Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray named The Associated Press Player of the Year. Read the story: https://t.co/I9Qas729YC https://t.co/OpDHDmqAQH

The similarities between this year's winner and last year's winner are notable, as Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma from Texas Tech, while Murray did so from Texas A&M.

Mayfield went on to win the Heisman Trophy as well and became the No. 1 pick in the draft, so Murray still has his work cut out for him if he is going to keep pace with his fellow Sooner.

Murray has already been drafted by a professional sports team, though, as the Oakland Athletics selected him with the No. 9 pick in June's Major League Baseball draft.

Despite his prowess for baseball, he was dominant on the football field this fall and finished with 4,053 passing yards, 892 rushing yards and 51 total touchdowns while leading Oklahoma to a Big 12 championship and spot in the College Football Playoff.

He also avenged his team's only loss of the season to Texas with 379 yards and three touchdowns through the air in Saturday's Big 12 Championship Game.

Murray, Tagovailoa and Haskins all put up head-turning numbers, but the winner of this award had to do so while covering for a downright abysmal defense.

Oklahoma's defense finished 108th in the country in yards allowed per game and 96th in points allowed per game, often putting Murray in a situation where the Sooners would lose if he and the offense didn't put up 50-plus points.

They routinely did, and the AP Player of the Year award is staying at Oklahoma as a result.