The past month, and more specifically last week, brought a storm of incoming four and five star commits to Texas A&M. Murray, Sutherland, Lodge, Little...oh doctor! This recruiting season is the most exciting that I have ever experienced. I thought it was going to be difficult to top the high from last year. I won't feign an expertise in high school football recruiting. I come from a high school where the Swaggercopter would only stop if it needed to refuel, and I still find it a bit creepy when middle-aged men know a great deal of information about sixteen and seventeen year-old boys.
Recruiting novice status aside, I had the grand opportunity to hear the personal side of high school football recruiting from Texas A&M's heralded quarterback, Kevin Murray '86. Kevin is a two time All-American and a member of the AT&T Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. After coaching high school football, Kevin dedicated his time to coaching high school and college quarterbacks across the state of Texas. Kevin has been particularly focused on teaching his son, Texas A&M 2015 commit Kyler Murray.
Questions at a recent Dallas A&M Club luncheon quickly shifted from the Southwest Conference and Cotton Bowls to Kyler, but Kevin did not mind sharing his opinions about the recruiting process and his son's experience. Kevin says he approached Kyler's recruitment, not as a former player or as a QB specialist, but as a dad. Kyler's decision was all his own, but fatherly advice laced with decades of football experience was offered. Before his commitment, Kyler had been back and forth between Texas A&M and Oregon. The Murrays were up for supporting either decision, but Kyler had to make the final call based on his goals. His dad did not want him picking a school only because of glittery uniforms and flashy locker rooms.
Not that fly unis and futuristic athletic halls are to be entirely dismissed. Kevin noted that Coach Sumlin and Aggie Athletics are using their SEC exposure and new funds to make recruits' heads turn toward College Station. However, these amenities alone do not make a program great. Greatness comes from the coaches and players themselves. What impressed Kevin is that Aggie offensive coordinator Jake Spavital made a real connection with Kyler to find out his goals in order to see if they matched up with the goals of the Aggies. "I told Kyler that he needed to feel comfortable with them [the coaching staff]," he explained. "Spavital was the one who put it over the top for Kyler. They valued Kyler."
Some were apprehensive about Kyler's intention of even playing college football. Like his father, uncle, and older brother, Kyler is a fantastic baseball player. But he is determined to play college football with the Aggies, and he plans to have a great senior year that includes both football and baseball. There should be a baseball team comprised of quarterbacks, as they seem to be piling up.
Concerns and backlash have arisen this month from outside the Aggie community. With recent impropriety involving Aggie football players, fans of other programs are lashing out at A&M's recruiting success. They are spreading a message that great players will be ruined once they get to the Brazos Valley. Most parents are concerned about their kids going to college in general, but the Murrays are confident about Kyler being a part of such a high profile program. Kyler has been at the center stage of the gargantuan Allen High School as the sophomore quarterback who won a state championship. This has given him experience to be hyper aware of the world around him. He understands that his actions are magnified and that people are watching. His dad reflected that Kyler isn't one to go out and party and he'd rather keep his activities on the tame side contrary to the choices of a fair number of his teammates.
It's cliché to say that Kyler is a "good kid", but Kyler Murray has the experience and background to know how to handle himself so that he can be successful in his pursuits. He has an excellent home team to keep him on the straight and narrow, and with a dad like Kevin Murray, I know that I'd go far out of my way to keep my nose clean. Aggies should be looking forward to the next few years and the dynasty that Coach Sumlin is building. Mr. Murray has confidently promised Coach Sumlin, "When you win your first championship, my son is going to be your quarterback."
Strike up the War Hymn and let the warm sensation of a successful football program wash over you, Ags.
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