Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy defensive end Connor Murphy stands out. He can’t help it.
Whether it is his vibrant red hair that he had cut into a mullet when we last saw him at The Opening during the summer or his 6-foot-7, 250-pound frame, you can’t miss him.
The No. 1 defensive lineman in Arizona, Murphy couldn’t be missed on the summer showcase circuit as he propelled himself nearly 150 spots up the Scout rankings with a strong summer and fall. He went from being the No. 279 overall recruit in the 2016 class to currently being No. 135.
During his senior season this fall, Murphy didn’t get to fully build on what he showed in the offseason. He recorded 30 tackles, two sacks and five quarterback hurries in seven games. Murphy didn’t seem to have his normal burst off the line of scrimmage and later in the season it was revealed that he had been playing with a lingering injury. It got worse and worse throughout the season and Murphy had to be shut down in mid-October.
Eventually, it was revealed that Murphy had be playing through a double sports hernia.
"Basically, they said that I tore both of my groins.”
He had pulled the muscle away from his pubic bone. Murphy had surgery two weeks ago and should make a full recovery. However, the surgery did more than end his season. It also changed his recruiting timeline. Originally, Murphy had hoped to have taken all of his official visits by early in December, giving him ample time to make a decision, but the surgery has put a hold on that.
“It’s kind of hard for me to move around right now,” Murphy said. “It’s going to be a good month before I go take any official visit anywhere, so that’s going to have to be delayed a little bit.”
Murphy knows at least two schools he will be officially visiting once he is healthy enough.
“I know Michigan is for sure going to get an official visit, so is USC obviously.”
At USC, Murphy was a big fan of the Clay Helton hire.
“That’s huge for him. I messaged him on Twitter as soon as I saw all the Tweets about him getting that head job. I congratulated him and he said “thank you” right away. He’s a really great guy and he really wants me at USC. I can’t wait to sit down and talk to him.”
Helton has also been sending Murphy Direct Messages on Twitter.
“He’s been messaging me a lot on Twitter. He messaged me the other day that he needs me at USC to rush the quarterback, so we’ve talked back and forth a lot.”
For Murphy, USC’s tradition as a football powerhouse stands out. “Everyone is scared to play USC.” But he also has been impressed by the alumni network available to the Trojans after finishing their football career.
“With USC, I’ve always heard great stories about their alumni,” Murphy said. “They take care of their guys after football. There’s always life after football. USC, I’m not only thinking about them for football. Their academics are great also.”
The Trojans are also planning to come to Arizona to visit Murphy since his travel is limited. Recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon has an in-home visit scheduled this evening.
Murphy was able to get one official visit under his belt before surgery, visiting Oregon for its 48-28 win over USC. Murphy was impressed by the trip, calling it a “blast.”
“That was a lot of fun,” Murphy said. “The whole entire crowd started chanting ‘Let’s go Murphy! We want you at Oregon.’ That was a pretty cool experience. Overall, just a crazy time over in Oregon.”
A number of other schools are trying to woo Murphy into using an official visit on them as well. He listed Alabama, UCLA and both of the local Pac-12 Arizona universities as schools that have been trying to convince him that they are worthy of one of his final two visits after Michigan and USC.
On his official visits, Murphy said he’s trying to find comfort and a place that’s going to help him fulfill his potential. That’s what he thinks will ultimately set a school apart.
“There’s always life after football. I need to see how the school is going to prepare me for life in general. How are the guys going to welcome me in when I take my official visit to the school? Are they going to welcome me in? Is it going to be like a brotherhood? Am I going to get along with the guys well? And of course, how is the school going to set me up for my football success.
“I’m going to play college football and obviously, my dream is to go play in the NFL one day. Are they going to help me fulfill that dream and are they going to help me be the best I can be at playing football?”
Standing out isn’t a bad thing and whoever can answer those questions will have a great shot at landing the 6-foot-7 redhead defensive end standout.