My name is Jenni, and I was a Kyler Murray doubter
They say confession is good for the soul, so the end of the college football regular season seems as good a time as any to share something.
I was a Kyler Murray doubter.
It's true. Back in the summer, before this season began, I really didn't believe this guy would be all that great as the Oklahoma quarterback.
Good? Sure. He is too athletically gifted to be a total bum.
Successful? Of course. All the Sooners have done in recent years is win. No reason to believe that's stopping regardless of who plays quarterback.
But authoring arguably the greatest single offensive season that college football has ever known? Becoming a quarterback for the ages? Emerging as the Heisman Trophy front-runner?
I did not see that coming.
But after Murray was announced Monday as one of the players headed to New York City for the Heisman, I was reminded of all the questions that swirled around him less than three months ago.
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He hadn't even won the starting job less than two weeks before the Sooners' season opener. OU coach Lincoln Riley may well have been playing coy to keep Austin Kendall from transferring, but the longer preseason camp went without an announcement, the more you wondered about Murray.
How could a superstar need to fight so hard for a job?
How could a transcendent player fail to blow away everyone in the first week?
Of course, there's always a chance Kendall is the second coming of Brett Favre, but if he is, sign me up for an Austin-Kendall-doubter column next year.
It just didn't seem like there was any chance Murray could be as good as he's been.
His attention has been divided between football and baseball. Even when Murray was done splitting time between practices and meetings and games last spring, there was still the mental pull. He was drafted ninth overall by Oakland, which comes with big money and high expectations. He had to have baseball on the brain even as his attention turned to football.
There was also the three-year hiatus between starts. Sure, Murray stepped in last season and started for Baker Mayfield after the crotch-grab game at Kansas, but that wasn't the same as being the full-time starter.
Murray started his last game at Texas A&M on Nov. 14, 2015.
His first game as the OU starter: Sept. 1, 2018.
That's a long time to be on the shelf.
Then, there was the Baker Effect. Even with Mayfield gone, he left behind big shoes. His shadow was long, his legacy entrenched. That put intense pressure on Murray.
Before the season, he said all the right things. "There's a standard here at the position." "You come here to play quarterback, you play it well." "That's my job, and I'm prepared to do it."
Of course, there was a chance Murray would be to Mayfield what Colt McCoy was to Vince Young or Tee Martin was to Peyton Manning, but such things seemed like such a long shot.
Was I ever mistaken.
Let us count the ways, right?
I'll save you the laundry list with one ostentatious factoid that sums up his greatness: Murray has combined for 4,945 yards passing and rushing, more than 68 of the 129 other major-college teams in the nation.
He is tremendous.
I was wrong.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or email@example.com. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.