At The Combine: Kerry Murphy

One of the state's top defensive linemen can be expected to take the mystery out of his recruiting decision early. Hoover defensive tackle Kerry Murphy said he hopes to make a commitment this summer. And even the legendary near-sighted cartoon character, Mr. Magoo, could read between the lines and determine the likely winner for Murphy's signature next February.

"I grew up an Alabama fan," said Kerry Murphy. "I mean, since Day One. Everyone in my family is a Bama fan."

With defensive tackle a priority for Crimson Tide recruiters, that should be good news. Murphy will be starting for the third straight year for Coach Rush Propst's powerhouse squad. Hoover will be going for its fifth consecutive 6A state title this fall. Murphy is excited about his final season, particularly about opening on national television for the second consecutive year. Last year Hoover opened the season with a win over Nease High School (and celebrated Tim Tebow) of St. Augustine. This year Hoover will go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to face Union High School.

"It excites us to start the season with games like that," Murphy said.

Murphy was on the Alabama football practice fields Saturday for the Combine, one of a handful of such premier events across the nation this year. College coaches from throughout the South (including Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula) were on hand to watch nearly 300 high school players go through their paces.

"It's exciting to take part in this combine," Murphy said, "especially since it's at the school where I'm most interested."

While some of the top players might rattle off the names of up to a dozen colleges under consideration, Murphy was measured. "Alabama," he said. "Louisville. And Auburn would be third."

He said he would also go to Alabama's football camp. "And maybe Auburn's," he added.

Saturday's visit to the Alabama campus was at least the fifth for Murphy. "I love coming down here," he said.

Murphy has a football connection to another major college. His uncle, Marcus Knight, was a top prospect a few years ago from B.B. Comer in Sylacauga. Knight went to Michigan.

Murphy checked in at 6-4, 323 pounds on Saturday. He clocked a 5.1-second time in the 40-yard dash. He said he intends to lose down to about 290 before the start of his senior season, which he believes will help his speed.

Murphy is coming off a junior season in which he turned in 98 tackles and 12 sacks and forced two fumbles.

He said he's "working on" his grades. He has not yet taken the ACT.

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