RECRUITING: DeMarco Murray Has A New Favorite

It only took one time in Gainesville for Las Vegas (NV) Bishop O'Gorman running back to discover what all the hype is about The Swamp. As he watched the Florida Gators demolish the Mississippi State Bulldogs in front of 90,104 fans, the speedy, elusive five-star runner was so impressed that he was ready to name a new favorite.

(See DeMarco Murray profile)

The 6-1, 185 pound Murray grew up a fan of the Gators. He visited Florida last year with his teammate Ryan Reynolds, who eventually signed with Oklahoma. With the Homecoming crowd lending atmosphere and excitement to the visit, Murray decided the Florida Gators are his new leaders.

"Florida leads," Murray said. "Because of the visit, it puts Florida ahead right now. The atmosphere sets Florida apart, it was a great city, and everyone is friendly. I think they have the best fans and stadium of all the teams I am following right now. I thought the crowd was great."

This could have been the weekend from hell for Murray, but somehow everything fell in place for his official visit. He had an itinerary that was straight from a horror movie script. He even had to leave his game early on Friday night to make the schedule work.

"I left my game early, towards the beginning of the third quarter so I could catch the red-eye at 10:40," Murray said. "We were winning 56-0 when I left; the final score was 72-6. I got to fly to Atlanta, then through to Gainesville and got in about 9 a.m. A graduate assistant picked me up at the airport. I went straight from the airport to the Gator Walk and meet the coaches and players from there.

The coaches and players were in game mode and didn't have much time to meet with him so the next big appointment was the game. He loved the crowd, loved the atmosphere, loved that the Gators won and best of all, he saw a running back position that is practically begging for him to wear orange and blue.

"They [the Gators] played together as a team and came away with a victory," he said. "The offense was great … they had a couple of fumbles from the backs but they did great. I can see myself fitting in the offense. I like how they move the backs around. Not only do I like to run, but I like to catch screens and quick passes. I saw them do a lot of stuff like that and the option. I like how they spread the defense out, so they can't just put eight people in the box to stop the running game."

Afterwards Murray got to see a lot of very happy Gators celebrating in the locker room. Murray got to appreciate the moment.

"I went into the locker room and listened to Coach (Urban) Meyer talk about the team win and stuff like that," he said. "I felt like I was part of it. He gave a great speech and all the players were congratulating each other and stuff."

Freshman quarterback Josh Portis, a Californian, was Murray's host for the weekend. Murray came away with a real appreciation for Portis and the other Gators he met during his stay.

"After the game I hung out with Josh Portis for about an hour and a half, he was my host," Murray said. "He is a great player and a great personality. I just had a great time. After that I went back to the hotel to shower and go out for dinner.

"I went out with Josh and a few players. I met DeShawn Wynn and Markus Manson and I met Kestahn Moore before the game. DeShawn is a huge guy and Markus was my host last year when I visited."

Murray has really grown close to Running Back Coach Stan Drayton and the time he got to spend with Drayton on Saturday made him feel even more at ease. Murray has high praise for Florida's running back coach.

"All the players told me he is the coolest coach," he said. "He is a straight forward coach. He is a fun coach to be around, but wants you to be better. He is a hard coach too and wants you to get after it. I got to know him a little better and he did a great job of selling me on the school. I had a great time with him.

Because it was homecoming weekend in Gainesville, one of Florida's all-time greats was in town but unfortunately for Murray, there was no chance for him to meet former Gator and NFL great Emmitt Smith.

"No, actually as I was coming out of my hotel I saw him, but I missed the breakfast he was at," Murray said.

Murray could not see the visit going any better than it did. All of this despite the fact he hardly slept the night before the game on Saturday and had a long flight plan back to Las Vegas on Sunday. For Murray, the other schools on his visit list have a lot to live up to.

"The visit was a ten," he said. "It met and passed my expectations."

Murray still plans on taking scheduled trips to Oklahoma and USC. He also plans on making his announcement at the US Army All American Game if he is selected for the team. Florida made the most of its chance to host this five-star runner. It will be up to the other schools to out-do a weekend in The Swamp.

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