RECRUITING: Murphy close to earning Eagle Scout

You hear a lot these days about the search for positive role models. The Hollywood crowd, musicians, and some athletes are seemingly, more often than not, earning glowing reviews for their outlandish inappropriate behaviors. Parents hope, pray, and have even lost sleep worrying about what the next "role model" might do for an encore.

The polar opposite of those is Louis Murphy. He gave the University of Florida a verbal commitment last summer. The 6-3, 188-pound wide receiver will have Gators fans swelling with pride, and parents of those young Gators pointing out Murphyisms for the next several years.

While the completion of the high school football season leaves most guys hanging out with their friends, and taking visits to shore up future collegiate commitments, Louis Murphy will be busy over the next several weeks completing a commitment that improves his Pinellas County community.

"I'll be working on a project with my cousin" Murphy explained. "We're painting a community building where kids go for after school care. It's owned by the City of St. Petersburg. It's a place where kids can hang out, do homework, play video games, and stuff like that. The building needs painting on the inside and outside."

Completion of the project should earn Murphy the much deserved title of Eagle Scout. He has long been a member of the Boy Scouts, at the prompting of his parents who were hoping to steer him in a positive direction. Murphy told me last summer that he initially balked at the suggestion, but once he gave it a chance, he found the Scouts to be rather interesting. It took him little more than a couple of minutes to convince me that the Scouts were much more than a group dedicated to trying knots and making wooden rafts from discarded popsicle sticks. Murphy professed at the time, that he was especially interested in the fine leadership and responsibility among some of the more important aspects that scouting taught him.

"We have to have 100 community labor hours to complete a project" he told me. "There will be some other volunteers helping out, so it is really a group project. You have to get approval before you begin the project. That's taken care of, now we'll get started. Our schedule is to complete the project the weekend of January 8th."

He has had a chance to meet with new Florida Coach Urban Meyer and already he's impressed.

"He (Coach Meyer) came to the house," said Murphy. "Just from talking to him I could tell that he was very strict, a no-nonsense type of guy. He's very upbeat. He knows what he wants. He left a good impression. He hasn't seen any film on me, but he said that he would. He asked me if I'd seen any games of the Utah offense but I told him no. He's going to send the receivers coach down and show me some film." I asked him about his visit and if he had spoken to any of the other Florida guys recently. "I'm probably coming up the twenty-first," Murphy stated. "I talked to Vladimir Richards and Gerald Williams. I talked to some other guys that I met on visits. Derrick McPhearson as well."

It was a tough year for Murph and his Lakewood High School teammates. The squad struggled to a 2-7 record and a fourth place finish in the district standings.

"Our high school coach just got fired," he said. "I'm eager to get to college and win some games and show that I can play."

The children in the after school program who benefit from the efforts of Murphy and the group of volunteers will remember only his good deeds, and (eventually) the fact that this guy could indeed play.

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