BYU Gets Second Instate Commit In Two Days

Having already received verbal commitments from seven of the top instate football prospects for the class of 2008, Coach Mendenhall and his staff can add another to the list of commits that plan on signing next February.

On Monday, Coach Mendenhall and his staff received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-3-inch, 330-pound Utah heavy weight power-lifting champion Sealver Siliga. On Tuesday, it was American Fork football and baseball star Jake Murphy's turn to commit.

"I committed to BYU today," said Murphy. "I'm very excited. I called up Coach Tidwell and told him that I'm committing to BYU. Coach Lamb is my recruiting coach, but most of the coaches are on vacation, so I couldn't get a hold of Coach Lamb, so I called Coach Tidwell and told him. He said he was going to let the other coaches know.

"When I told Coach Tidwell that I was committing he was just really excited. He told me that he felt that BYU was the best place for me and that the experience at BYU is great both on and off the field. He told me that he was excited to have me."

Murphy had scholarship offers in hand from BYU, Stanford and Utah State, and was close to receiving a scholarship from Arizona State. He was also receiving recruiting attention from Cal, Oregon and USC.

"The reason why I committed to BYU was because the most appealing thing for me was being able to play for and represent the [LDS] church," said Murphy. "To me it's kind of unique because BYU is known as the LDS school and I really like that. There is just something unique about BYU over other schools with the honor code and the Mormon aspect and all that. I just feel that I can become a better person and a better football player at BYU than anywhere else."

When Murphy first received his scholarship offer from BYU, he wanted to wait and see what his options were in regards to both football and baseball. As time wore on, Murphy received recruiting attention from many Pac-10 schools, but felt in his heart that BYU was the place for him to be.

"When I first got offered I said how I was just going to wait, but now I just didn't see the point in waiting and feel fine with committing to BYU," Murphy said. "I just felt like it was the right thing to do and the right place for me, so I didn't see the point in waiting. I'm really excited."

"Obviously it would be nice to play in the Pac-10 and it would be cool and stuff, but I feel that the mission and the direction of BYU is much better than any of those Pac-10 schools. On top of that, I feel that BYU can compete with any of those top schools in the country. BYU is just more appealing to me because they don't just focus on just football, but focus on more benefits for LDS athletes than other schools no matter what conference. Not only is BYU a top program, but also they focus on caring for the person and making him better off the field.

"Other schools don't care as much about you as a person unless you can help them win football games. BYU is different because obviously they want to win and be a top program in the country, but not only do they want to win and be a great program, but they want you to develop as a person to represent the church and be a good example to the community. It just seems that other schools just want you to win, whereas BYU is winning too, but they have a lot more to offer because they care about me as a person. I felt that for me to better develop overall as a person and an athlete that BYU is the best place for me."

The decision for Murphy to commit to BYU was made after evaluating all of the pros and cons, going through a lot of soul searching, and receiving some priesthood blessings.

"My dad [former Major League Baseball player and two-time MVP Dale Murphy] has been through the whole recruiting process before and knows it can be stressful at times," Murphy said. "Sometimes the stress can lead people to make the wrong choices. He just wanted me to be able to see clearly what was the best thing for me, and to ask Heavenly Father to help me not be stressed about anything. After he gave me the blessing, I would just be up at night thinking of where I wanted to play college sports. For some reason I just couldn't picture myself playing for Stanford and Arizona State and some of those other schools.

"I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I've been praying about it to see what is the right decision for me. Even a few months ago I would just randomly tell my mom that I would get excited and want to go to BYU, and both my mom and my dad would tell me that those were more-than-likely spiritual promptings.

"They both told me that BYU is probably the best place for me to go, so I just prayed about it and just kind of got a gut feeling that I should go there. My dad had been giving me blessings to help me with the whole recruiting process. The only school that would really go through my head was BYU and I could only really picture myself in a BYU uniform. I just felt like I needed to commit to BYU, and it just felt right to me."

On top of the academics, the environment and the overall personal developmental aspects stressed by the Cougar coaching staff, Murphy also likes the fact that he can join some like-minded friends either already on the Cougar team or joining it in the near future.

"I have some friends up there," Murphy said. "I'm good friends with Rhen Brown, who is going up there, and I'm trying to get my friend Xavier Suafilo to go there. We're good friends and I hung out with him a couple of days ago, so now that I'm committed I'm going to try and get him to come with me.

"I'm also really good friend with Scotty Ebert. We hang out once in awhile and he's a really good kid and I like him a lot."

College football isn't the only thing awaiting Murphy after high school.

"I plan on serving my mission after high school," Murphy said. "I'm not sure if I'll play a year first or not. I feel I can make an impact and if I have a shot at doing so then I'll play whatever position they want me to play. If I feel like I should stay and contribute, then I'll stay my first year. If I feel I can contribute more after my mission, then I'll just go on my mission right after school."

Pushing 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds, Murphy was clocked in the forty at 4.7 at the Arizona State football camp. At the Oregon camp, his vertical was recorded at 30 inches. His size, speed and athleticism as a junior in high school allowed American Fork coaches to play him at multiple positions.

"At high school I'll be playing wide receiver and safety," said Murphy. "The coaches up at BYU have said that I can try out at whatever position I want to at first. I think they want to try me out as an athlete-type player. I'm going to go out as a wide receiver because that's my favorite position, but depending on how big I get and where the team needs me, I'll go and play there. For now I want to play wide receiver, but it could change by the time I get there to BYU."

Murphy plans on signing his letter of intent to play football and therefore will be on a football scholarship, but because he is also a talented baseball player, he also plans on swinging the bat for BYU baseball coach Vance Law.

"I'm going to be playing both [football and baseball] and I'm going to try and keep my options open for as long as I can," Murphy said. "I love playing both sports and want to try and play both for as long as I can. The [Cougar] baseball coaches have talked with my baseball coach a couple of days ago and I was told that they would like me to play baseball at BYU too. Coach Lamb sent me a letter a while back and said he would like to see me in BYU blue and white in both football and baseball. I'm planning on playing both and I hope it all works out because that's what I want to do. It's very exciting.

"Stanford offered me to come play football and said I could come walk-on there and play baseball also. It was appealing to me and I know Stanford's baseball team is really good and all that, and I know they're trying to turn their football program around, but they just didn't have the nod over BYU as much. For some reason, it just didn't sound as appealing to me as playing for BYU. Everyone knows that BYU is an LDS school and that just seems cool to me. Representing my religion on the field is what makes playing for BYU unique."

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