Byron Murphy was supposed to be telling the world his college destination this weekend during the U.S. Army All-America Bowl. But that was before USC linebackers coach Peter Sirmon visited last month and convinced him to take an official visit to Los Angeles in January.
“He was just telling me to be honest and seeing if I was really, really interested in going,” Murphy said. “I told him yea, so we were just talking about me coming in and playing right away. I really have a chance of being a starter there.”
Instead of having a national audience for his announcement, the 5-foot-11, 168-pound Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro four-star athlete with ball skills at both receiver and cornerback decided he would make his birthday extra special.
Murphy plans to take his official visit during USC’s big recruiting weekend on Jan. 15. Soon after he hopes to have his final decision.
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to commit on my birthday on Jan. 18. After the visit, I’m going to sit down with my parents and talk to them. Talk to my coach about everything and after that make my decision.”
After visiting early last year during the Trojans’ junior day event, Murphy was very high on the Trojans. He really liked the coaches and players he met and talked with. He called the facilities “amazing” and said his parents “loved it.” Combined with USC’s academic reputation, Murphy had the Trojans near the top of his list of potential schools.
But the feeling has waned some in recent months. Murphy said he hasn’t had a lot of communication with the staff, which could potentially be attributed to Sirmon having to try to cover the role of primary recruiter for almost all the defensive players with three defensive coaches fired after the Pac-12 championship game.
“I have the top schools and yea, [the Trojans] are still up there but they are not really at the top of my list right now because I haven’t been really talking to them that much,” Murphy said. “Right now, it’s ASU, Washington and Texas A&M and still USC.”
Murphy is still intrigued enough by the Trojans to continue giving them a chance, but part of the problem for him is that he has no position coach as a likely defensive back. Murphy said he didn’t know if the new defensive backs coach would even be there in a couple of months after his official visit.
“[Sirmon] said they’re not really sure yet, so with that I was like “Uhhh…,” Murphy said. “That’s very important just to see what coach I’ll be around, spend most of my time with. But since that coach isn’t going to be there, I’m going to look forward to the coaching staff that is there and the players that are already there.
“I am just trying to look at the other players and see if I can fit in with them and just see if I can get a good connection with them.”
It appears the Trojans are on the outside looking in as of now for the No. 118 player in the 2016 Scout 300, but a good connection with the other recruits and players or even better the hiring of a defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach prior to his visit still has the potential to make a definitive impact.