Defensive back Alameen Murphy had never been to California before this week. He's leaving the Golden State Thursday having decided to live there for at least four years of his life.
Murphy, a three-star recruit from Fort Washington, MD that's being pursued as a cornerback, became Stanford's fourth 2014 verbal pledge immediately after the conclusion of the Cardinal's camp session on Wednesday. A televised or Tweeted announcement was not involved in this commitment; Murphy approached head coach David Shaw and shared the news with him face-to-face.
"That was the best way," he said. "I'd seen all I needed to see. There was no point in waiting. I knew I wanted to be here."
Murphy touched down in California Monday after developing a strong fondness for Vanderbilt during his visit to Nashville two weeks ago, but he said that experiencing the Farm in person completely altered the dynamics of his recruitment.
"Seeing Stanford changed my whole perspective," Murphy said. "It seemed unreal how nice it was. It felt like this was where I needed to be."
Shaw reacted to the news with excitement, as did Murphy's position coach Derek Mason and his regional recruiting coordinator David Kotulski. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound defensive back praised Kotulski's influence in his recruitment, saying that the Cardinal inside linebackers' coach "felt like my grandfather because of how interesting he was."
In Murphy, Stanford is getting a cornerback who posted a strong first season at the position during his junior year at Fort Washington's Friendly High School. He moved to the outside after playing his freshman and sophomore campaigns as a roving safety, a position assignment that helped him develop physical run support capabilities that impressed the Cardinal on film. In his first hurrah at the cornerback position this past year, Murphy intercepted two passes and broke up 14 more. He has called press coverage his "bread and butter."
"I wanted to move to corner, because I wanted to make plays," he told The Bootleg Radio in an earlier interview. "Coach Mason told me that I fit in well within Stanford's scheme, whether it's press coverage or man-to-man. They think I can play the cornerback position. I think I'm pretty versatile."
The Cardinal coaching staff is putting major emphasis on the defensive back position in this 2014 recruiting cycle. They've already nabbed a commitment from touted Texas safety Brandon Simmons and pledges from two offensive ballcarriers: Denver-area running back Christian McCaffrey and bruising Orange County fullback Daniel Marx.
While current Stanford football players are away from campus on a two-week break before summer training commences June 24, Cardinal coaches are hosting high school prospects on The Farm in a weeklong camp circuit. Murphy was especially impressed by the passion and attention to detail presented to him and his fellow campers on Wednesday.
"A lot of other camps don't really care, they just want your money," he said. "Here [at Stanford], they focus on getting everybody better. They care about all the little details."
One more fitting detail highlights the timing of Murphy's commitment. In his April interview with The Bootleg Radio, he called Stanford "the Miami Heat of college education" as a way to illustrate his praise for the Cardinal's top-flight balance of academics and athletics. Well, Murphy's pledge has come a day after one of the biggest wins in the Heat's franchise history and about 24 hours before Miami hosts Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals.
It's safe to say that the recruiting trail has provided Stanford with a neat piece of symmetry.
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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