The majority of high school athletes being recruited have a laundry list of things they are looking for in a school: facilities, academics, early playing time, location and fan support to name a few.
Phoenix Brophy Prep defensive end Connor Murphy is looking for all those things, too, but the biggest sales pitch a college coach can give him is eye contact and a firm handshake.
“I want to see a determination,” said Murphy. “Seeing all these different college coaches, just talking on the phone to all of them and them coming up to meet me at the school, just seeing the determination and look in their face and in their eyes, it’s pretty obvious who wants that national championship ring the most. That’s definitely what I’m looking for in a college coach.
“I don’t want to shake a coach’s hand that has a fishy handshake. I want a pretty blue-collared, hard-nosed type of a guy who I can give a firm handshake to, look him straight in the eyes and know at the end of the day I can along with the guy.”
The 6-7, 255-pound Murphy says his recruiting process has “only had ups thus far” as his scholarship total continues to climb into the double digits. Looking for such a distinctive trait in his recruitment, the four-star Murphy says Erik Chinander (Oregon) and Peter Sirmon (USC) are assistant coaches that have made an early impression, not to mention the staff at Arizona State.
“I could definitely see myself playing for them in the future,” said Murphy.
While he’s just starting to build his relationship with him, Murphy could eventually put offensive line coach Joe Rudolph in that same equation. Offering Murphy late last week, along with a couple of other high-ranking prospects in Arizona, Rudolph made it clear what his intentions were.
“I have always heard good things about Wisconsin growing up, just about their defensive line and their o-line,” said Murphy. “They’ve had some pretty big guys come out of there. They also offered Garrett Rand. For Wisconsin to come out here and look for guys like us is truly saying something and says something about their program.”
What exactly does is say about Wisconsin?
“They’re definitely trying to get serious,” said Murphy. “It says they are a determined program, a pretty hungry program and they are trying to get that national championship ring just as badly as I am. It definitely says a whole lot about the depth their willing to go. They’re looking for success in the future and nothing less.”
Finishing last season with at least 70 tackles, Murphy – rated the No.1 defensive end in Arizona, No.34 at his position and No.271 overall by Scout.com – holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon and UCLA to name a few.
Some coaches have told Murphy that he could play as an outside linebacker but he says most schools want him with his hand in the dirt.
“They just want me to get after the QB and rack up the tackle for losses,” said Murphy.
Trying to soak in the recruiting process as much as he can before starting to narrow his list, Murphy has only visited Arizona State, has no future trips scheduled and doesn’t plan on releasing a top five until before the season. For now, he will just continue to hear college coaches compliment his game and enjoy the attention.
“I am just told over and over about how all these coaches are drooling over my size,” he said. “They know I am just going to keep getting bigger and bigger. They like how I never take a play off, (and) I’m always hustling to the ball. You’ll never see me give up on a play. I have good length and how I use my arms and hand extension to get off the ball.”