Happy Monday, friends and fans!
We are only 10 days out from the opening night and opening round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Around this time last year, the Oklahoma Sooners saw one of their very own picked before all others. Today, Kyler Murray has more momentum than anybody in regards to the No. 1 overall selection.
For a program to send off back-to-back quarterbacks at the top of the draft like this would truly be historic, but another thing that is changing the game is the fact that we’ve reached this age where height is about as important to a QB’s success as is the color of his cleats. Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but there are simply too many other, more deciding variables than height that are flipping the archaic belief system on its head. At least, this much is true in Murray’s case. ESPN’s Tim Keown has more:
Can Kyler Murray rewrite years of NFL draft history and go No. 1?— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) April 15, 2019
"Here's the one thing you need to know about Kyler. Short goes away when you see what he can do."#OUDNA | #BoomerSoonerhttps://t.co/OemJ2HR1PC
Keown goes on to talk about Murray’s time in Norman, specifically when he first arrived after transferring from Texas A&M. Even though he had been away from all sports for a month and a half, he tested nearly off the charts for Lincoln Riley and staff. For anybody who watched him lead Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff or win the 2018 Heisman Trophy, it’s obvious he’s not just a practice field warrior. He also performs on the brightest stages and in the biggest moments.
Keown also goes into Murray’s relationship with his father, and he explains that the manner in which the elder Murray operates comes from a good place but is often misunderstood.
“No man’s distrust is abstract, untethered to the lines and angles that shape his life, and in that light, Kevin’s protection of Kyler is understandable. Kyler is a 21-year-old public figure in a hypercritical environment where everyone has a voice, and opinions are wielded like knives. The insulation and learned circumspection is part of the reason Kyler lives in the spotlight and yet remains unconstrained by it. Athletes would seem to face a binary choice: Embrace the fame or avoid it. Either on guard or onstage. Murray resides in a third realm: He ignores its very existence. If you don’t acknowledge it, is it really there? And when it’s been there as long as you can remember -- when coaches know your name when you’re 9 and kids four states over are watching your high school highlights as pregame hype -- does it eventually blend into the background, just more white noise?”
It’s not a done deal that Murray will be the first player taken in next week’s draft, but he’s already making history by simply being who he is and placing himself in this position.
Now onto this week’s Monday edition of Hot Links! Sooner softball continues to roll through the competition, Oklahoma picks up a pair of commitments, Tiger Woods is all the way back and more!
- Please respect Oklahoma cornerbacks coach Roy Manning’s decision to watch Game of Thrones. Do not attempt to reach out to this man on Sunday nights!
- With the number of dominant teams Patty Gasso has had in her tenure at Oklahoma, it’s almost crazy to think that this could be her absolute best. Sure, that won’t be determined until the Sooners reach and win at the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, but until then, the balance of hitting and pitching on this team is nothing short of incredible. 19 shutouts and 21 run-rules in 40 games played? Plus a current 28-game winning streak? My goodness.
- On Saturday, the Sooners traveled north on I-35 for a little post-spring recruiting dinner at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Here’s a picture of of current players (many of whom are 2019 signees/early enrollees) standing with OU’s hardware.
- Here’s a better look at all the hardware, provided by the one and only Cale Gundy. Something tells me more pieces will be added to the collection before long. That’s just how it goes at Oklahoma.
- Former OU men’s basketball coach John MacLeod has passed away at the age of 81. He led the Sooners from 1967-73 before moving up to the NBA where he coached the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks.
- In case you missed it, Oklahoma picked up a pair of commitments on Sunday. Class of 2020 four-star CB Dontae Manning out of Kansas City and class of 2021 WR Cody Jackson out of Richmond, Texas announced their decisions after attending OU’s Spring Game. As of this moment, two of Lincoln Riley’s eyeball emoji subjects have yet to make their announcements.
Around the Sports World
- If this whole scene of Tiger Woods winning his first major in 11 years didn’t give you absolute chills, then you might want to check your pulse. From the fist pumps to the “Tiger” chants to the embrace with his family, this is why I love sports. He certainly earned this moment.
- Here he is, ladies and gentlemen. Tiger Woods, your five-time Masters champion, and unofficially the comeback athlete of this century.
I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for their support. Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget. To not only be able to play again, but to be able to win again, is something I will forever be grateful for. This jacket sure is comfortable. pic.twitter.com/LsOUX2dWH1— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) April 14, 2019
- SI’s latest cover features no additional text, which has only happened a few times in history. This shot is almost breathtaking. Watching it unfold was like seeing the weight of the world lifting off of a man’s shoulders, and the crowd ate up every second of it. It’s truly a scene that will live on in sports memory for the rest of our days.
- LSU men’s basketball coach Will Wade has been reinstated after serving a suspension while under NCAA compliance investigation. LSU’s announcement came just minutes before the premier of Game of Thrones, which might make it the most clever news dump of all time.
- QB Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are at a bit of an impasse with contract extension negotiations. The six-time Pro-Bowler has set a deadline for midnight tonight, and it they can’t reach an agreement by then, Wilson does not intend on seeing his contract extended this season.
Stick to Sports!
- If you’re a Game of Thrones viewer and have been wondering what happened to Ed Sheeran’s character since his one and only scene in season seven, Sunday night’s premiere actually revealed it in a subtle but fitting-for-GoT way. I actually totally missed the reference when I watched it, so this caught me up to speed. If you find Sheeran to be annoying and truly hated his cameo, this should be somewhat satisfying.
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