When Chris Murphy arrives on the University of Arkansas campus in January to begin his college career, Marietta, Ga,. Lassiter head coach Jep Irwin says the Razorbacks will be getting the total package.
Murphy (5-10, 180), who pledged to Arkansas back in July and took his official visit to Fayetteville this past weekend, is a mid-term grad who will get to go through spring practice with the Razorbacks.
"What a fantastic person and player Arkansas is getting in Chris," Irwin said Monday. "I know every coach loves guys, but I just can't say enough about this young man and his character and his hard work even before you get to the football field, where he is just a great, great football player.
"He is a young man that is mature beyond his years, has overcome a lot of adversity that no one should ever have to deal with and someone come out on the other side to be just one of the best people you could ever be around," Irwin said.
Indeed both of Murphy's birth parents are deceased – with his mom passing a few years ago - and his was taken in my his aunt and uncle.
"You hear about kids feeling sorry for themselves when they get their cell phone taken away or something like that," Irwin said. "This young man went through real tragedies, stayed the course and has a bright, bright future ahead of him there at Arkansas."
Proof of that is that Murphy – who will room with incoming quarterback Rafe Peavey - is graduating early and thus being able to enroll early at Arkansas.
He committed to the Razorbacks in July over 19 other scholarship offers – including ones from Missouri, Oklahoma State, Louisville, Vanderbilt, West Virginia, Arizona, North Carolina and North Carolina State among others.
"He is a great student and worked hard to put himself in this position," Irwin said. "That's one thing you will never have to worry about with Chris. He never missed a workout, he never missed a practice, he never missed a game. He is as responsible and as dedicated as anyone I have ever been around."
Not to mention he plays a very mean corner.
"You see a lot of cornerbacks who are just happy to give the receiver some room and then come up and try to hit them and hope they just make the tackle or somehow knock the ball away," Irwin said. "But that's not who Chris is at all.
"He is a true cover cornerback who will challenge the receiver way before the ball gets there, doesn't want anybody catching passes on him," Irwin said. "If you do, he is going to try and punish you.
"He is not a little guy," Irwin continued. "He is a thick, strong young man who takes it to you."
Irwin points out that Murphy has been going against great competition in high school while at Lassiter, who won a region championship this season and finished 7-4.
The Trojans were knocked out of the playoffs by Peachtree Ridge.
"We play 6A football and it is very, very good in the Atlanta area," Irwin said. "He has seen SEC receivers and talent all the time while playing here. I don't think it will be the big transition that it is for a lot of kids."
Irwin thinks Murphy will be a contributor next fall for head coach Bret Bielema and his Razorbacks.
"Coming in early is a big deal for him, not only just to get used to college life, but to be able to go through spring practices with Arkansas," Irwin said. "Coach Bielema says they are going to go through 15 practices over five weeks in the spring.
"I'm not saying he is going to come in and start, but I am saying that he will find his way to the field and he will be a contributor right away," Irwin said. "He has great technique, great footwork, is fearless, breaks on the ball great. He is a great one."
Murphy Primed For Early Impact
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