Murdock Talks Recruiting

Fast. Explosive. Quick. Exciting. Get out your thesaurus and start looking up other words that can describe Tampa (Fla.) Middleton standout wide receiver O.J. Murdock. At 6-0 and 185 pounds, Murdock has big time ability and has proven it in many ways.

He began playing football when he was nine years old. His career started as a tight end but he's since played nearly every position. Now he's one of the state's best wide receiver/free safety combos.

"I think my speed separates me from a lot of other guys," Murdock said. "Having speed that makes me faster than most guys, I can use it to my advantage. When I'm running certain routes, I can change my speed all the time to make the cornerback unsure of when I'm gonna explode."

Murdock, who is fully qualified (920 SAT, FCAT scores), has somewhat of an advantage of playing receiver. His father, Kelvin, played wideout for Troy State and the New England Patriots. The younger Murdock is coming off a big junior season and spring.

"I missed two games because of an ankle injury last year," he said. "I caught 33 passes for 750 yards and seven touchdowns. In the spring game, I had scored two times and I came real close to returning a punt for a touchdown. I wanna be able to score more touchdowns this year, be among the state's leaders."

Having said that, Murdock still believes his top goals come as a team. He talked about his expecations for this coming season.

"I wanna help get my team deep into the state playoffs," he said. "I think we have the team to do it this year. We're well-rounded in all areas."

In addition to being one of the state's best football players, Murdock is also an All-State runner in track.

"I finished third at the state meet in the 100 (10.7) and third in the 200 (21.32)," he said. "Both of the guys ahead of me were seniors though."

Murdock has been running track since his freshman year. He's already been to the state meet two times and plans on winning those two events next year.

"Both times I ran against the wind in Gainesville," he said. "I feel like I get a lot better of a time than I did this year."

Murdock trains hard on a regular basis for both sports. He takes us through his regular routine.

"Now that summer has started, we're out there on our own practicing every day," he said. "I lift, watch film, do whatever I can. I'm always looking at different routes and different defenses and stuff like that. Whenever I play Madden against my friends or whatever, I'm sitting there breaking down the plays and what defenses are being run instead of just trying to score points and win."

Murdock, who didn't play football as a sophomore before transferring over from Hillsborough High School in December of that year. Now that his grades are in order, college coaches are all over him.

"It was kinda irritating in May that I got so many calls," he said. "I really don't wanna leave the state. You got three great programs right here and they all use the receivers and put guys into the NFL."

It's only fitting that all three major Florida programs are actively recruiting the talented young receiver.

"I'm going up to Florida this weekend to watch some of their camp and to hang out with some of my boys, like Andre Caldwell," he said. "I'm going back for the camp to participate in July. I'm also going to FSU's camp later this summer. I wanna go to Miami's too."

Murdock said he spoke to UM coaches during the month of May and came away impressed.

"They came to the school, the receivers coach came," he said. "When he called me at home, he was basically telling me how they really liked me and that they're trying to get two receivers this year. I've always really liked Miami but my first choice was Florida because they were my favorite team growing up. At Florida State, they were saying they're gonna need a replacement for Crophonso Thorpe after this season."

Murdock claims close to a dozen written scholarship offers at this point.

"The ones in the mail are from South Carolina, Texas, Michigan State, Michigan, Florida State, NC State, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, teams like that," he said. "Florida and Miami both said they have a scholarship for me too but I haven't gotten it yet."

Murdock said he'll check depth charts briefly but it won't be a major factor in his decision.

"I wanna stay with one of the big three in Florida and I know there will be competition anywhere I go," he said. "They always have big time receivers. I dont think anyone will be much faster than me. They might have size on me so I'm just gonna have to outwork those ones."

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