John Hoover

Sporting News: Driven to success: How Kyler Murray took winding path to greatness at Oklahoma

Sporting News: Driven to success: How Kyler Murray took winding path to greatness at Oklahoma

NORMAN — Before he was able to even drive himself to practice, Kyler Murray could flat-out throw the football.

“His very first start for us — he didn’t really start until about the sixth game of his sophomore year — I think he was like 20 of 22, something like that, right off the bat,” said Tom Westerberg, Murray’s high school coach at Allen (Texas) High School. “He’s always been a very accomplished passer.”

Westerberg knew Murray was already really good when the family arrived from Lewisville, Texas, some 21 miles west of Allen.

Westerberg knew Kyler’s father, Kevin Murray, from their days together at Texas A&M in the mid-1980s. Kevin Murray was a record-setting quarterback for the Aggies, earned All-American accolades, was Cotton Bowl MVP and is in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame and A&M Hall of Fame. Kevin Murray now runs the Air 14 Quarterback Academy, training young quarterbacks for college duty and beyond.

“I knew Kyler was gonna be able to throw it when he got there,” Westerberg told Sporting News.

Having learned from his father, from Westerberg, and now from Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, Murray has developed into one of college football’s most prolific quarterbacks. He’s 22 now and can drive himself to practice. Heck, with the $4.67 million he got from MLB’s Oakland A’s as the No. 9 overall pick in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft, he can hire a chauffeur.

Murray, a fourth-year junior who launched his college football career at Texas A&M before transferring to Oklahoma, is under contract with the A’s. He’ll be playing baseball next year, so it’s likely this is his one chance to fulfill his dream of playing big-time college football, of being “The Man” — a full-time starting quarterback on a national title contender.

And being the quarterback at Oklahoma doesn’t get any bigger than this Saturday, when the Sooners walk down the ramp at the Cotton Bowl for their annual brawl with Texas.

“Coming home to play Texas in the Cotton Bowl,” Murray said, “it’s a huge rivalry game.”

To read the rest of Sporting News’ profile on Kyler Murray going into the 2018 OU-Texas game, click here:


Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at


John Hoover

Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he's now co-host of "Further Review" on The Franchise Tulsa (weekdays 12-3, fm107.9/am1270) . In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. Hoover also covered Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Oral Roberts and the NFL as a beat writer. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist. As a columnist, Hoover won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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