Murray loves visit to BYU

Last week the BYU coaching staff brought out two junior college defensive backs for an official visit. The two prospects – one of which was Lakeith Murray from Ventura College – learned more about BYU's high academic standards and storied football tradition. While a scholarship has yet to be extended to either at this time, there is a possibility that may occur in the near future.

Lakeith Murray from Ventura College in Southern California comes in at 6 feet and 183 pounds, and reportedly runs a 4.45 forty.

"For this past season I had two interceptions and I want to say 35 tackles," Murray said. "I played safety and corner. My freshman year I had four interceptions. Originally I was a corner and started playing safety when I came out to Ventura. My best attributes as a corner is I can definitely play man coverage. That's my favorite – being out on an island with a receiver. At safety, I feel I'm a ball hawk and some of my best attributes are being able to read and be around the ball."

With cornerback Trent Trammell suffering a season-ending injury on the first day of spring camp, the coaches of BYU went back to work. They invited Murray to come on campus for an official visit to check out BYU's football program.

"I thought it was an incredible experience and the professionalism and hospitality of BYU was what I wanted it to be and more," said Murray. "[I liked] the level of professionalism from the coaching staff and the fact that they care more about you as a person than just about football and academics. They want you to excel as a football player and graduate with your degree, but they also want you to graduate as someone who has become a man. I really like that."

Standing on the sidelines, Murray was able to see firsthand the BYU coaches in action. He also saw the rapid pace and clockwork timing with which practice was conducted.

"It was very fast paced," said Murray. "They are in and out and it's so professional. Everything is so crisp and it's impressive. I really liked what I saw going on during their practice."

He also watched BYU defensive back coach Nick Howell go to work instructing and mentoring his players.

"He was running around during practice and running to the ball to like his players," Murray said. "It kind of surprised me because I've never had a coach do it like that."

Murray has established a great relationship with Coach Mendenhall.

"Coach Howell is the one that's been recruiting me," said Murray. "As a person, Coach Howell is definitely a great guy. He really tried to know me as a person and approached things that way. He had the position that if he's going to coach me he wants to know me, so we can have a good on-and-off-the-field relationship. Off the field we can be laid back, but on the field he's going to get on you but in a good way."

While on campus, Murray was able to speak one-on-one with Coach Mendenhall, and was able to learn more about the expectations of the head coach and what the university has to offer.

"Coach Mendenhall definitely liked my talent and wanted to bring me on a visit. It was more about, ‘Is BYU the place for you?' They obviously want you and they feel it's the place for you whether you're Mormon or not Mormon. BYU definitely has strong values and that's something they promote on all levels. They have a strong tradition and academically BYU is one of the best."

Last season BYU's defense was ranked third in the nation, which is incredible when considering Coach Mendenhall's program philosophy of football being fifth on its list of priorities, behind faith, family, knowledge and friends.

"My mom is always stressing to me the importance of personal values and character," Murray said. "Coach Mendenhall cares about that side of things. He's a player's coach and cares for you on top of the classroom and as a player. He cares more for who you are than just that you can get sacks and interceptions. It's important to him that you become a good person, a good father, a good son."

While BYU likes the talents what Murray brings to the field and the character he brings off of it, he has a little work to do before he can get an offer.

"Well they definitely like me, but the only thing holding me back is my GPA," Murray said. "BYU is a strong academic institution so I need to get my GPA up a little bit higher. I'm pretty sure they definitely would be interested in offering me. They told me they want to offer me and they definitely like me, so as long as I get my GPA up to where it needs to be I'll be hearing from them soon."

Ventura College is set up on semesters, and so Murray has one more semester to raise his grades to a desirable level prior to graduating. He wants to major in business and knows that BYU's business department is one of the best in the country.

"I will graduate in May and at the latest in June," said Murray. "BYU's program that I want to major in is one of the best, and that was something that I didn' know before. I want to major in business, so I have to get my grades up to get into that. They have one of the best business programs in the country. I learned that they have ties to a lot of Fortune 500 companies around the nation. It's just a perfect opportunity for internships when you graduate from there. I should graduate with a 3.0 and I should be good."

Murray's goal is to position himself so BYU pulls the trigger and offers him a full-ride scholarship.

"My goal is to do what I need to do to put myself in a position where it puts the pressure on BYU," said Murray. "I need to work on my GPA up and see what they do. That's my goal. The opportunity would be big for me and it would be just another thing me and my mom to talk about. I really liked my visit out there. I loved it."

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