Murphy, a 6-1, 197-pounder with 4.5-speed, will be one of the most heavily recruited players in the state for 2006 and for good reason. He will be a four-year starter for coach Bo Barton's squad and will have a chance to finish his high school career with more than 8,000 rushing yards.
As a junior, the standout back racked up 2,147 yards and 24 scores on the ground and picked up First Team All-State honors. His season ended abruptly during the playoffs when he suffered a torn ACL but he is reportedly on schedule to make a full recovery.
"Richard has great vision and just sees the field so well," Barton told Tiger Rag. "I've seen him run from one side of the field and all the way to the other then cut it up the middle and leave kids in the grass. He's a powerful runner too. We get him the ball out of the backfield and he catches it well. The kid can do anything. He looks like a 10th grader playing with eighth graders."
Barton attributes much of his star player's success to his work habits off the field and his intense competitive nature.
"The kid is rock solid," Barton said. "It's a solid 197 pounds without any fat. What makes him so different is his desire. The kid hates to lose as much as I do. To me that is what really sets him apart from others."
In addition to running the ball, Murphy also returns kicks and punts, along with handling the kicking and punting chores. He has a lot of versatility and pure athletic ability that may land him at a different position at the college level.
"He may go to a college program that has eight running backs ahead of him so the coaches may want to move him," Barton said. "If I was recruiting him, I'd look at him at running back first then strong safety or linebacker. He will play anywhere you put him. That is how bad he wants on the field."
Coaches have been burning up the phone line at Rayville's field house requesting film and gauging Murphy's interest in their program.
Barton said Murphy approached him a few weeks ago and wrote down some schools he was seriously interested in and all of the coaches representing those schools love what they see in his player. Those schools at the top of his list include LSU, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Miami, Auburn, Florida State and Michigan.
Les Miles has already indicated he would be offering Murphy a scholarship and that he is one of his top priorities for the ‘06 class.
"He (Miles) already told me personally he was going to offer Richard a scholarship and he would like to get an early commitment from him," said Barton. "I wouldn't be shocked if he gave him an early commitment and I wouldn't be shocked if he waited. He wants to make sure he finds the best place for him and I want him to do what is best for Richard. I think every kid growing up in Louisiana has an eye on LSU and I know Richard likes LSU."
Sonny's Take: This kid has all of the tools to be a great player at the college level. He has a nice blend of size, speed and athleticism. He runs well between the tackles but he is very exciting when he gets to the outside and in the open field. The only reason the scholarship offers have not started coming in yet is because coaches want to see how he recovers from a torn ACL he suffered in the playoffs late in his junior season. Word out of Rayville is that he is on schedule with his rehab and is expected to make a full recovery. When Scout.com ranks the country's top players you can expect to see this kid near the front of the pack.