December 14, 2018 / 1:31 AM / a month ago

College football notebook: Murray takes first step toward NFL

Quarterback Kyler Murray was one of the underclassmen whose names Oklahoma submitted to the NFL College Advisory Committee, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday. That could imply a change of plans for Murray, an outfielder selected ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB Draft.

Dec 8, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray kisses the trophy as he poses for photos during a press conference at the New York Marriott Marquis after winning the Heisman Trophy. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The newest Heisman Trophy winner has until Jan. 14 to decide if he wants to pursue an NFL career and enter his name in the draft. His agent, Scott Boras, initially downplayed Murray’s interest in the NFL, pointing to the contract Murray agreed to with the A’s that included a $4.6 million signing bonus and an agreement Murray would report to spring training in 2019.

However, Wednesday night in Las Vegas, where Boras was peddling free agents to baseball general managers, the agent’s tone softened. The thesis of his comments: Plans are subject to change.

Former NFL general manager Bill Polian said recently he believes Murray would be drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray’s outstanding season for the Sooners boosted his NFL draft stock, with many media outlets pegging him as a first- or second-round pick if he were to enter the April draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper has said Murray likely would be a first-round pick despite being just 5-foot-10.

—Appalachian State hired North Carolina State offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz to be its new head coach. The school announced it agreed with Drinkwitz on a five-year contract, subject to approval by the North Carolina Board of Governors. Drinkwitz, 35, replaces Scott Satterfield, who left to become Louisville’s coach.

Under Drinkwitz, the Wolfpack ranked No. 1 in the ACC in passing (327.7 yards per game) and tied for third in scoring average (35.6 points) and 12th in rushing (143.7 yards) in the 2018 season. NC State quarterback Ryan Finley led the league in passing, completing 67.9 percent of his attempts for 3,789 yards with 24 touchdowns.

Satterfield went 51-24 in six seasons with the Mountaineers, guiding them to a share of three Sun Belt Conference titles and three consecutive bowl victories. Appalachian State (10-2) plays Middle Tennessee in the R+L Carriers Bowl in New Orleans on Saturday.

—Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton was scheduled to undergo another surgery as he continues his recovery from a devastating knee injury he sustained last month, his mother tweeted.

The intention of the surgery is “to get him more comfortable,” according to Teresa Milton. She also said he would be at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., to support his teammates when No. 8 UCF faces No. 11 LSU on Jan. 1.

Milton was injured in the second quarter of UCF’s 38-10 victory over South Florida on Nov. 23. His head coach, Josh Heupel, called the injury “traumatic,” and it later was revealed that Milton had surgery to restore blood flow to his right leg. Milton still needs to have reconstructive surgery on the knee.

—Arkansas sophomore linebacker Demetrius “Dee” Walker was suspended indefinitely, one day after being arrested on drug and weapons charges.

The 21-year-old Walker was arrested after police found 95.8 grams of marijuana, 40 Xanax pills and an AR-15 rifle with a loaded magazine at his residence, according to the Fayetteville Police. Walker has a court appearance slated for Friday.

“We are aware of charges involving Demetrius Walker, a student-athlete on our football team,” the school said in a statement. “The student-athlete has been suspended from our football program indefinitely, and we will continue to monitor the situation and cooperate fully with any related legal and campus processes.”

—Fired Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has been working as a consultant to Alabama football this week, according to AL.com. It was unclear whether Durkin could wind up in a longer-term role with the Crimson Tide.

Durkin was fired on Halloween after a 10-week investigation that followed the death of tackle Jordan McNair this summer. Durkin was put on administrative leave on Aug. 11, following an ESPN report that described the culture in the Terrapins program as “toxic.” He was reinstated in late October and fired the following day amid an uproar.

Durkin took over at Maryland in 2016 and had a 10-15 record in two seasons. Maryland hired Alabama’s offensive coordinator, Mike Locksley, last week to serve as head coach.

—Alabama-Birmingham coach Bill Clark is the winner of the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award, the Football Writers Association of America and the Allstate Sugar Bowl jointly announced.

Clark guided UAB to a 10-3 record and the school’s first Conference USA title this season. The stellar campaign comes in the program’s second season since football returned as a sport after being dropped following the 2014 season.

Clark, 50, has an 18-8 record in the two seasons since football returned and is 24-14 overall in three seasons at UAB. He was UAB’s coach in 2014, the final season before the program went on hiatus.

—Quarterback Jayden Daniels committed to Arizona State, giving the Sun Devils one of the nation’s top dual-threat prospects in the Class of 2019. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Daniels is the nation’s No. 2-ranked dual-threat QB in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite.

Daniels, from Cajon High School in San Bernardino, Calif., said he intends to sign his national letter of intent Wednesday and enroll at Arizona State next month. He had 25 scholarship offers, including from programs such as Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Penn State. His final list included only Arizona State, Cal, Utah and UCLA.

—Field Level Media

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