Montana State quarterback Chris Murray is no longer with the program, the school confirmed Friday.

Murray missed the 2018 season due to academic reasons and spent the spring practicing with the Bobcats in a limited role. But he was unable to restore his eligibility and left MSU.

Murray started for the Bobcats beginning midway through 2016 and throughout 2017.

In addition to Murray, MSU also said running back Tyrel Burgess (academics) is not on the active roster but could work himself back to eligibility. MSU also confirmed safety Shawn Borges, defensive back Kaleb Winterburn, defensive end Bryce Barker, kicker Jacob Byrne, offensive lineman Brody McKnight and defensive tackle James Williams are no longer on the roster.

MSU earlier said cornerback Jalen Cole (injury) was no longer with the team, but he actually remains at the school and with the program but is not on the active roster. He will be reinstated when he is medically cleared, meaning 2019 could be a redshirt season for him.

Murray started five games in 2016, and his 1,638 yards of total offense were third in school history by a freshman. His quick rise earned him Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors. As a sophomore, he threw for 1,597 yards and ran for a team-high 1,124 but completed just 51.5% of his passes. He led MSU to two wins over rival Montana.

Though coaches implored for more accuracy, Murray likely would’ve entered 2018 as the Bobcats’ starter. But less than a month before fall camp began, head coach Jeff Choate announced Murray would redshirt while trying to improve his academics.

“Let me be clear: Obviously, he’s our starting quarterback. This is a big loss,” Choate said last summer. “It’s not like we ignored him. We did everything we could to support him and make sure that he was in a position to succeed academically. ... He’d be the first one to say, ‘You know what, this one’s on me. And I’ve got to accept responsibility for it.’”

Murray’s academic situation set off a series of moves. Prior to knowing Murray would be unavailable in 2018, MSU brought in transfer Travis Jonsen from Riverside City College to add depth at QB. The Bobcats also moved Troy Andersen, who won Big Sky Freshman of the Year as a running back in 2017, to quarterback.

Andersen then beat out Jonsen, Tucker Rovig, Casey Bauman and Ruben Beltran for the starting job in 2018. Jonsen moved to wide receiver to find a different way to utilize his athleticism and was voted a team captain this offseason. Andersen, meanwhile, led the Bobcats to the second round of the FCS playoffs behind center.

That leaves Rovig, Bauman, Beltran and incoming preferred walk-on freshmen Blake Thelen and John Knight at quarterback.

Rovig, a redshirt sophomore, and Bauman, a redshirt freshman, are considered frontrunners as MSU is on track for a fall camp quarterback competition for the second straight year.

Murray returned this past spring while practicing about once every third session and only participated on weekends. As Murray eased back in with the team, his status for the fall remained in question.

“Chris is a guy that played a lot of football for us,” Choate said in March. “He’s a confident young man for good reason. He’s an exceptionally talented athlete. Football’s never been his problem. Very, very high football IQ.”

The decisions for Burgess and Murray didn’t occur until recently, but Cole had been dealing with injuries since the 2018 FCS playoffs.

Cole was listed on MSU’s depth chart throughout the regular season, occasionally started and was usually involved in MSU’s defensive nickel packages. Last season as a sophomore, he finished with 23 tackles, three pass breakups, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble.

Borges started at safety when needed and also was involved in nickel packages. He finished with 14 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

Williams likely would’ve been contending to be a starter on MSU’s defensive line with three all-Big Sky starters graduating. He played in seven games and totaled eight tackles and a tackle for loss.

Paul Schwedelson can be reached at or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @pschweds.

Paul Schwedelson is a sports writer for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.