When Tony Dungy sees Kyler Murray, something feels familiar.
A Heisman-caliber player, selected in the first round of a professional sports league other than football, leading his team on a college football title run?
Dungy thinks back 25 years.
He was Vikings defensive coordinator, scouting draft prospects. Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward was lighting opponents up for 3,032 yards and 27 touchdowns to land Florida State’s first-ever national title. Dungy told then-Vikings coach Dennis Green to pursue Ward.
“As a defensive coach at the time,” Dungy told USA TODAY Sports, “I’m thinking, ‘Man. I would not want to play against this guy and all the headaches he would provide.’”
But would Ward, who instead became a first-round NBA pick with a 12-year career, sign if the Vikings risked the selection?
“It was really a conundrum,” Dungy said.
It’s a conundrum Murray has revived.
Clearly, he has proved elite in two sports.
The Oakland A’s drafted the outfielder ninth overall and signed him to a $4.66 million guaranteed contract that allowed him to play one more year of Sooners football.
So far in that season, no one has posted more than Murray’s 51 touchdowns (40 passing, 11 rushing) or his 4,945 total yards of offense. His 11.9 yards per pass attempt leads the nation; his 70.9 completion percentage second. Murray’s 205.72 passing efficiency rating is the best the NCAA has ever seen.
Those numbers are one reason he is favored to win the Heisman (at least according to a USA TODAY Network survey of voters and Vegas) over Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins Saturday in New York.
But do they make Murray a potential NFL franchise quarterback?
Let’s define that.
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