VAUGHT: Monroe County lineman making visits

Monroe County offensive lineman Billy Joe Murphy has been a Kentucky football fan for as long as he can remember. However, he'll be taking an unofficial visit to Louisville Friday after making one to Vanderbilt earlier this week. But Kentucky still remains a viable choice as he will make an unofficial visit to UK Saturday to watch the Cats spring practice scrimmage.

"I definitely have a lot of interest in Kentucky," said the 6-7, 265-pound Murphy. "I have always been a Kentucky fan. Kentucky has always been the school I root for. My family loves Kentucky and has always been UK fans. Everybody around here is Kentucky fan. We are right on the Kentucky-Tennessee line and you would think there would be Tennessee fans, but they all hate Tennessee and love Kentucky.

"A lot of people hate Louisville in my county, but Louisville has a good football program. Louisville is one of the top schools I am looking at. Everybody knows they are a good program. That's why I am going there for a visit."

He says he liked the Vanderbilt campus and head coach Bobby Johnson was a "real down to earth man" that he also liked. "I liked how they had everything laid out down there," Murphy said.

Murphy has a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and already has scored a 23 on his ACT, numbers that easily surpass the requirement for freshman eligibility. It's also no wonder that he says being able to "outsmart" opponents is one of his biggest strengths on the football field.

"Football is a lot about hitting, but it's also a lot about outsmarting people," Murphy said. "I get my steps and technique right. I know where the play is going and the best way to block. Usually I feel like I am a little smarter than most opponents I go against. I understand the game well. It just sort of comes natural to me."

He got his first recruiting letter from Nebraska when he was a freshman. More came the next season when he became a starter for Monroe. After his sophomore season he got a visit from new UK linebacker coach Chuck Smith not long after Smith left his successful reign at Boyle County High School to join Rich Brooks' staff at UK.

"His visit was another reason I knew I could play college football. If someone as well known and respected and coach Smith came to visit, then I knew I could make it. It was a huge deal when he talked to me," Murphy, who also plays basketball and baseball, said.

Murphy has scholarship offers only from Kentucky, Louisville and Vanderbilt. He's not sure when or if he'll get more. He also has not put a timetable on his college decision. "I have no idea what I will do. I want to get a good look at all the schools before I make a decision. But I'm really excited about going to visit Kentucky."

Monroe's only other Division I signee was Barry Rich, an offensive lineman at Kentucky. Murphy played with Rich's nephew his first year at Monroe. "I don't know him (Rich), but everybody here does because he went to Kentucky. This is definitely a Kentucky area and probably always will be," Murphy said.

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