By Brian Bateman
Andrew Murphy was prepared to sacrifice his continued gridiron glory for a solid education and a good college experience.
Fortunately for the Jesuit offensive lineman, he found a way to get all three.
Murphy, who attends Anshai Torah and graduated from Ann and Nate Levine Academy before moving to Jesuit for high school, is pleased about his prospects — including early playing time — at Davidson this fall.
“I’m very excited. Looking forward to try and follow my dreams athletically,” the all-district tackle said.
Murphy, who will enter this fall as the heaviest and one of the tallest linemen in this year’s draft class, could be in line for early playing time. His 310-pound, 6-foot-6-inch frame will instantly put him in consideration, whether at his natural tackle position or as a heavy tight end or H-back in goal-line and short-yardage situations.
He’ll challenge senior Josh Daryoush (6-3, 307 pounds) as the heaviest player on the field.
“I anticipate going in and at least having a chance to start,” Murphy said. “I hope I’ll get a chance to play.”
The style of play shouldn’t be much of a change for Murphy. He played in a spread offense at Jesuit, where he paved the way for 1,000-yard rusher Matt Slovak and protected quarterback Bo Schneider, who passed for 3,492 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Davidson’s main sets are a spread and a spread hybrid. If he ends up in an H-back or tight end position, he could create a devastating block or seal on the edge.
One change to which Murphy will have to adapt is the change in athletic focus on campus. Moving from football-centric Texas to basketball-mad North Carolina can be a wild swing in athletic priorities.
State of the game
And Davidson’s programs show that difference. The men’s basketball team has won four straight conference regular-season championships in both the Southern and Atlantic 10 and has made the NCAA tournament three of the last four years. In 2008, a Stephen Curry-led Wildcat squad nearly made the Final Four when they lost to Kansas, 59-57, in the Elite Eight.
The FCS football team hasn’t had a winning season since 2007, but Murphy said second-year coach Paul Nichols has been recruiting to change that trend.
“They’re recruiting winners,” Murphy said. “I think that the competitive nature of Texas high school football at the (Class) 6A level is probably at least in the top three of most high school leagues in the nation.
“He’s making a big investment in the offensive line. By the time we start rising up and getting experience, we’ll be very good.”
Murphy, who wants to go into the medical field, was willing to sacrifice football for a good education, but he said he found everything he wanted at Davidson.
“It’s got that small-school feel,” he said. “Although it’s removed, you are still close to a big city (Charlotte).”
The medical school also appealed the Murphy, along with it’s location — and weather.
“I’ve always lived in the South, so I wanted a Southern school. If (my school) wasn’t in the Deep South, I wanted one that had a Southern aspect.
“And North Carolina gets four seasons.”
As part of a renewed focus on recruiting, Murphy hopes to return his new school to relevancy in the Pioneer League — and maybe even the FCS playoffs.
“Of course, I’m biased, but everything starts with a good offensive line. It just takes pressure off everyone else,” Murphy said.
Murphy is the son of Eric and Melanie. His sister Allison swam for SMU. He also has a younger brother, Alex.