It’s personal: FOX Sports’ Davis has reason to be excited for Kyler Murray
Jim Thorpe and Deion Sanders were a couple of names brought up by FOX NFL analyst Charles Davis on Wednesday when he discussed his excitement for Kyler Murray’s career on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta.
Davis admitted that those are “out there” comparisons of successful multi-sport athletes, but his point was that this is something to appreciate. Who is to say what will happen in Murray’s professional career, but the 2019 first overall NFL Draft pick has already made history by being a first-round pick in two sports. He has the potential to do more.
However, Davis has an even more specific reason to be fascinated in Murray’s ascension.
Davis’ father, Franklin, was a quarterback with similarities to the new Cardinal, but his era kept him from possibly getting the same opportunities.
“I am the product of a man who was a quarterback in high school, good enough to play at a major college but at the wrong time,” Davis said. “My dad ended up playing HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) ball because he was out of the state of West Virginia. You think the university of West Virginia is going to recruit a black quarterback in 1957? No.”
By 1957, there had been just five African American quarterbacks in the NFL, three of which didn’t play longer than two seasons. In the college game, HBCUs were the “essence of black college football” since African Americans were not welcomed on many college athletic teams, according to African American Registry. Davis noted that the color of his father’s skin was the main reason that his father did not get the opportunity to play football at a higher level.
There was another reason his father lacked opportunity, and it has to do with another trait Franklin Davis shares with Murray.
“My dad would be a smaller guy at 5’9″ or 5’10”,” Davis said. “You think he is not fascinated by what he is seeing? You think he is not a fan of Russell Wilson, Drew Brees and down the line? Of course he is, because those people remind him of himself playing.
“And I am not saying my dad was going to be a pro, I don’t know that. All I know is that he did not get his shot. So we are all excited about this.”
Murray is a unicorn in the sense that there are so many of his attributes that have not historically combined into an NFL quarterback.
He is the first player ever to be drafted in the first round of the NFL and MLB drafts, the shortest quarterback measured at the draft combine since 2003 and he is an African American quarterback, one of nine probable to start Week 1.
That is more than enough to have many football fans and analysts like Davis paying attention as his career begins.