Holloway, the Raven

The first round of the NFL Draft came and went Thursday. Two more days of selections, totaling seven rounds, followed. Murphy Holloway waited.

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His name never scrolled across his computer screen, his chosen device for following the event that would shape his future. But he wasn't left in limbo long.

Minutes after Mr. Irrelevant, Justice Cunningham, was taken with the last pick of the seventh round late Saturday, Holloway's phone rang. The Baltimore Ravens, the Super Bowl champions, were on the other end.

"I was watching on my computer, man, and as soon as that last pick, my phone rang. It was them," he said. "After that, there were a few more calls, but I went ahead and told them I'm going to the Ravens. Everybody wished me good luck. It felt great, man."

Holloway, one of the all-time Ole Miss basketball greats, is an NFL tight end now. He'll report to the team on Thursday before returning to Oxford a few days later. Then he's off for good for organized team activities, set to begin May 12 and run through late June.

"I'm just glad to have this opportunity," he said. "They showed the most interest, man. I felt more comfortable (knowing) that no matter what I do in minicamp, I'd be around, on the practice squad or whatever."

Holloway said the Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles showed the most pre-draft interest in signing him.

Murphy Holloway
Ole Miss athletics

Those teams, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and a few others, scouted Holloway at the indoor practice facility on campus, where he went through typical scouting drills: 40-yard dash, shuttle, broad jump, vertical, etc.

But Holloway, who last played football in middle school, believes it was his performance on the basketball court that caught the eye of the Ravens. Holloway finished his Ole Miss career with over 1,000 points and as the Rebels' all-time leading rebounder.

"I felt like them watching me on the basketball court probably helped get me the deal with the Ravens," Holloway said. "They had a guy who worked for them who was around here to come watch me. The actual guy, the scout, he couldn't get down here, but he had all my basketball film and he even heard from some of the quarterbacks that I'd be great, I'd just have learn some things."

Among the things he'll have to learn is blocking technique. He showed capable as a receiver in the pre-draft process. Everything else, however, was/is foreign to the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Holloway.

"I feel like I have a good base, man," he said. "My speed's all right. I'm big enough, and I have the type of body where I can put on more weight and still be able to move.

"It's not going to happen over a month. I just feel like the blocking is going to be the hardest thing (to adjust to) and the playbook. Right now, this is a job. It'll be for my little girl and my little boy. I'm going to learn it, for sure, if it takes staying up late in the hotel or whatever."

The Ravens already boast one former Ole Miss player on their roster in offensive lineman Michael Oher, who starts at right tackle. Oher kept in contact with Holloway throughout the draft, and he has continued to provide encouragement as Holloway embarks on what he hopes is a long NFL career.

"It's kind of nice knowing Big Mike and having somebody up there that can show me the ropes. Terry Gurley from South Carolina, he also plays there," Holloway said. "It was a good setup. I'll play behind some veteran guys who can show me the ropes; I'm not about to come in there and take their time. The plan, I'm guessing, is to try to develop me. I'm going to go in there and try to make the team off the top."

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