Posted by: marcmwm | February 6, 2009

Ferentz on Murphy

Matt MurphyAs a junior, Matt Murphy was decent. He started for the Clinton River Kings and was named third-team all-Mississippi Athletic Conference.

Third-team all-conference is OK. It’s not major-college recruit, but it’s OK.

Murphy, a 6-4, 238-pound offensive lineman, wasn’t OK with OK.

“My junior year was one of my low years,” he told the Clinton Herald. “I almost went out thinking I was better than I was. Third-team all-conference was not something I wanted. It really made me realize that I had to work a lot harder in every sport.”

As a senior, Murphy got it. He helped the Rivers Kings to their first postseason berth since 1996. He also earned first-team all-MAC on offense and defense.

This earned him major-college recruit attention.

Northern Iowa offered. Then, Iowa came sniffing around and put a grayshirt opportunity on the table. Murphy then started hearing full scholarship offer from Iowa State when coach Paul Rhoads arrived.

Then on the last weekend in January, Murphy took his official visit to Iowa.

“I visited with coach (Kirk) Ferentz during breakfast at his house and it was the same old talk,” Murphy said. “Then, about midway through the conversation, he offered a scholarship. It was shocking. I didn’t see it coming.

“This was completely unexpected. When the (football) season started, I was pretty sure I was looking at walking on, but at the end, I thought something could happen. It happened today.”

Murphy will play offensive line for the Hawkeyes. Ferentz isn’t exactly sure where yet.

“He is a great example . . . I think that’s one of the downsides of early commitments,” Ferentz said. “There are 10 schools in that top 10 and they’re recruiting players that my sister could tell you are good. There’s not a lot of drama there.

“If you look at a guy like Matt Murphy, I didn’t know much about him during the summer or even the fall. When I saw his tape after the season against good competition, that impressed me a lot. The combination of the tape — Reese (OL coach Morgan) had been down to watch him practice and play basketball and he was in there weekly, we had a good feeling about him.

“I think he is a highly motivated young guy whose arrow is going up, and he fits the mold of some players we have had some success with.”

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