Jason Murphy is a 6'3, 305-pound offensive guard out of Virginia Tech who should receive a phone call on day two of the NFL Draft this April. A big, strong lineman with a physical style of play and quick footwork, he switched from defensive tackle following his freshman year to offensive guard. And he flourished, earning All-ACC honors following his final season in 2005.
He's now working out in Denver, Colorado as he prepares himself for the NFL.
Here's what he had to say about his past, his future, and his approach to the
game of football.
Question: You started out as a defensive tackle at Virginia Tech after posting 60 sacks in Baltimore during your high school career. Tell us how the decision came about to switch you to the offensive line.
Answer: I guess it came mainly to get me on the field a little earlier. When I came out of high school I played defensive tackle and offensive guard, so they decided to give me a chance there and I just took advantage of it.
Q: Did you find you were more comfortable on the offensive side once you got settled in?
A: At first it wasn't all that comfortable because I had been playing on the defensive side and was working on it at Virginia Tech. Defense is more of a run-type of position where you would shoot out at a person, where at offensive guard it was more about keeping your balance and keeping control at all times.
Q: Your teammates honored you as the most team-oriented player and hardest worker. What do you feel you did to earn that distinction?
A: I just went out there and put it all out on the football field – even at practice. You've got to practice the way you want to play. So I practice hard and focus on doing things right on the field. Off the field I'd try to help some of the younger guys.
Q: Tell us a bit about the "Chain Gang Award" that you won in college.
A: The Chain Gang Award is based on the coach grading each player. And if you grade out over 80% in at least 8 of the games, then you make the Chain Gang.
Q: You were selected to play in the Hula Bowl. How do you feel your performance there helped make your case that you belong in the NFL?
A: It gave me a chance to go against some different players and be seen going up against some of the top players in college football. It may not have been the Senior Bowl or the East-West Shrine Game, but there was still top talent there. I think it gave the scouts a good look at what kind of player I am and the type of work ethic I have.
Q: Now you aren't going to the Combine next week, but tell us about what you're currently doing to keep improving your technique and to help raise your profile while you await the NFL draft.
A: My agent, Domann & Pittmann, they've got me working out in Denver, Colorado with Leo Goeas, who was in the NFL for close to ten years. I'm trying to critique and work on my hand position and my footwork. He's been giving me and some other offensive linemen insight on what to expect in the NFL once we get there.
Q: How would you describe your attitude out on the football field?
A: I'm a very excited player.
But I'm not a real uptight guy when I'm out on the football field. I like to
be loose and ready for anything that the defense might throw at me. And I'm a
very competitive person out there. No one likes to lose, but I definitely
don't like to lose.
Q: While you were at the Hula Bowl, which scouts did you feel showed a really good amount of interest in you?
A: The Buccaneers, and also the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears. And I had good conversations with others while I was filling out their questionnaires -- the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, the Jets and the Jags.
Q: You've described yourself as a good listener. How has that benefited your development as you've been preparing for your shot at the pro level?
A: I pride myself in that, even when I came to college. And then even more when I switched to offensive lineman. I had to learn the plays and how to do some different things. I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in now if I didn't listen. I've tried to learn from other people's mistakes so I wouldn't make the same mistake.
Q: What do you feel are the skills and attributes you possess that will convince and NFL team to sign you?
A: I have good power. I'm definitely athletic and I've got good leadership ability. I'm quick and I've got good vision. So I can bring all of that to a team.
Q: You're a very family-oriented guy. What influence has your family had on who you are as a person, and how you approach football?
A: They've helped me approach things spiritually. I pray before every game. My family is definitely behind me spiritually. That background helps you learn how to take on things. And my whole church family is behind me, and that's always a plus.
Q: What else would you like us to know about Jason Murphy?
A: Any team that selects me is going to get a good person and a good leader. And they're going to get a person who is ready to play.