Tampa Athlete Considering Fighting Illini

Another Florida football prospect is interested in the Fighting Illini. Tampa athlete Chris Murray has an offer and hopes to visit the campus. Playing on both sides of the ball, he is being recruited as a receiver and a defensive back.

Wide receiver/cornerback Chris Murray stands at only 5'-10", 185-pounds. But, he has still been able to make a major impact for his King High School team in Tampa, Florida. Even though his junior season wasn't perfect, he was content with how it played out.

"Team-wise, we had a great team. We had a lot of weapons on the field, and we worked together as a team. But we fell short in a one-point loss and were not able to make the playoffs.

"I had a productive year. I did really well last season, to where I made a name for myself. It was also a time where I learned more things, so I can make my senior season more productive than my junior season and hopefully get more ACC and SEC colleges looking at me."

Murray has set a high standard for himself heading into next season, and he understands it will only become reality with hard work. He has been doing various things during the offseason to improve every aspect of his game.

"I've been working out with the team, lifting weights and getting stronger. I've been working on my routes, my timing with my qb, my hands, my speed and my vision. "Also, I watch other receivers like Chad Ochocinco, DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin to learn different things from their abilities and add it with mine. That way I can work to be at least a top-five receiver."

Murray has also set high goals for his team next season. He is confident with the players around him that his team can have an exceptional season to finish out his high school career.

"I believe we are going to be a lot like last year's team, if not better. We have a lot of good weapons coming back. We also added a couple of players, including big offensive and defensive linemen, which will only add more to the team and make us more unstoppable than we already are.

"We're going to be hard to stop and hard to score on. I believe we're going to have an outstanding season. I feel we have the talent to go to the playoffs and beyond, as long as we stick together and fight as one team, not individuals."

On the recruiting front, Murray has formed a very positive opinion of Illinois.

"I believe they are a great school, and they have a great football program. I would love to play for Illinois, and I hope to make a visit to the school to learn more about it and meet the coaches and players."

Illinois starting contacting Murray last year and quickly started to gain interest. Coach Mike Gillhamer has talked to Murray, and Murray gained a good vibe from the secondary coach.

"I only talked to him once, but he seems like a great and exciting coach. I would like to meet him in person, and I would love to have the opportunity to play for him."

Not long after Illinois started talking to Murray, UI coaches decided it was in their best interest to offer him a scholarship.

"They offered me close to the beginning of the summer, and I was very excited when I got the offer. I was really looking forward to possibly being able to play for Illinois."

Murray does not know yet whether he would play receiver or cornerback for the Illini. He shared some of his strengths and weaknesses at both positions.

"I have a lot of strengths because I've been working on all my weaknesses. I can catch the ball in traffic, I have breakaway speed, I'm shifty, I can get off the jam, get in and out of my routes, catch the ball firmly and get open for my qb to throw a good ball. Also, I can lockdown receivers and tackle.

"My weaknesses are blocking, and I'm not a big hitter. I like to go for interceptions, but I can still tackle. But, I've been working on all my weaknesses since my junior season was over, so my game is elevating."

His offers include Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Ohio, Washington State, and Western Kentucky. After hopefully adding more offers, Murray plans to make his decision by the middle of the season. There will be a few key things he will look for when making that crucial decision.

"Good school, good coaches and I just want it to feel like a family when I am around the football team."

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