If you are going to recruit a wide receiver that's 6'0" tall, you know he's going to have a few things that make up for not being the prototypical wideout in today's game.
Quick off the line, the ability to get off jams, speed to stretch the field and of course, great hands.
Normally, if you get someone that can stretch the field, you don't always have that kind of receiver that is able or even willing to take the physical pounding by running routes in the middle.
Well, with O.J. Murdock you get both. 10.3 - 100 speed (electronic) that can stretch the field on anyone and approximately 25 yards per catch that says he's your guy to get the ball short and make something happen. You ask Murdock, don't try to lump him in one or the other. He's about doing it all. "If you need it, I can do it." O.J. said. "I can run by them or around them, whatever is needed. I like to think of myself though as someone that can get the ball anywhere on the field and make something happen afterwards."
Murdock doesn't liken his ability quite to the level of that cut-crazy former ‘Nole, Peter Warrick, but he says that you don't need to cut like that to make people miss. "What he did was crazy." Murdock said of Warrick's cuts. "Every other successful receiver is out there doing it without being able to do that, but watching him is something else."
Growing up, Murdock wouldn't watch Warrick much unless of course they were playing his childhood team of choice. And then, when he thought of the ‘Noles, it wasn't always in the best light. "As a Gator fan, yeah, I grew up hating Florida State." O.J. said. "When you are a Florida fan, it's almost mandatory."
That affection for the Gators and dream of playing in "The Swamp" had more to do with a certain person there however than it did with Florida itself. And, it's because that person isn't there, while Murdock still claims loyalty as a fan to Florida, as a recruit, it's a bit of a different story. "You know, I just didn't get that vibe from this staff." O.J. said of the Gator head coach (Ron Zook) and assistants. "It's nothing against them, but considering the changes, I've thought about things a little differently."
"I never thought about stability in a coaching staff until all that stuff went down at Florida and honestly, I don't feel that now. After last season, who knows how long he's going to be there or anyone, so it's had a big effect on how I think about them as a recruit."
That kind of stability is a staple for Florida State which is why they have made their way high on Murdock's list as does the University of Miami. Not to be left out however are two teams that are actually the two that Murdock knows for sure he'll officially be visiting this year. "I know for a fact that I am going to Nebraska and Michigan State this year." he said. "I'm hoping to come up for games to both of them and see what the atmospheres are like, but those are two places I know I am going to see."
As you can assume, the usual label of Florida kid must go to Florida school isn't all that applicable here. That's not an issue with Murdock as he isn't looking at the schools with a Florida kid's eyes, but a recruits eyes instead. "Hey, if Michigan State or Nebraska fit what I want, they are as high up on my list as anyone else." he said. "A stable staff, an offense that fits me and an opportunity to play, that's what I want and it doesn't have to be in-state."
While O.J. is determined to take all five official visits, he doesn't know that he'll wait long after the season before his decision. That depends a lot on how many visits he can take during the year, but Murdock said his decision isn't about time, it's feeling. "If I see that a school hits everything I want and maybe it's more than one school, I just have to see that place for myself and get a feel for everything there. The coaches, players, fans, the city, experience it all so I know exactly what I want to do."
"I can do that a lot anytime down there with the Florida schools because I have family close to all of them. And, I'll get to do that at Nebraska and Michigan State. After all that, I'll see how everything shakes out.
O.J. is the second best receiver in Florida as ranked by TheInsiders, not far behind Lincoln High's, Fred Rouse. Murdock is also the 8th best WR in the country.
O.J. recently scored a 960 on his SAT.
Steve Ryan can be reached at SteveRyan@bigredreport.com or 402-730-5619