Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007. He also hosts Recruiting Thursday each Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. statewide.
CB Murphy's football IQ an edge
University of Arkansas assistant coach Taver Johnson during media day Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 at the Fred W. Smith Football Center in Fayetteville.
When Arkansas cornerback commitment Chris Murphy enrolls in January, he’ll be ready technique wise and mentally to compete on the college level, said his defensive back coach Cedric Dickerson.
“First of all, he knows the game,” Dickerson said. “His football IQ is very high. I’ve been fortunate to have good players the last three or four years. I’ve had have six or seven Division I DBs and Chris is very, very intelligent on the field and he’s also a very smooth athlete.”
Murphy, 5-10, 180, 4.41 seconds of the 40 yard dash, of Marietta, (Ga.) Lassiter pledged to the Hogs over about 20 scholarship offers, including North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Vanderbilt and Missouri. Senior highlights CLICK HERE
His physical ability also rates high.
“Sometimes you get a kid that comes in that’s stiff in the hips especially with defensive backs,” Dickerson said. “Chris is a kid that’s very, very smooth and intelligent. I think that’s going to make the transition for him easier.”
Dickerson played at Valdosta State before going on to play two seasons as a safety for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL and one as an outside linebacker. He said Murphy made a play as a junior that showed his mental and physical ability.
“I talked to the kids about spacing and certain positions where the kids are lined up and being able to predict or understand what route the receiver wants to run,” Dickerson said. “The kid was running a slant route or a squeeze route and Chris actually back pedaled the route before the kid came out of his break and he beat the kid and undercut the ball,”
Murphy, who's lead recruiter is cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson, has recorded 22 tackles, a tackle for loss, three forced fumbles, a recovered fumble and three pass breakups this season. A play this season also stood out.
“A kid catches like a little five yard hitch,” Dickerson said. “Chris came out of nowhere and boom and stands the guy up while making the tackle and reaches in and rips the ball out and recovered the ball It was just an unbelievable play.”
Dickerson harps on football IQ and the mental part of the game to his players.
“What happens later in the career when that speed begins to fade and he never really learned the game,” he said. “They have no technique to fall back on They don't have any mental aspect to fall back on. It’s all just talent. As you get older talent fades. I tell them all the time we’re going to focus on techniques and the mental aspect of your game more than anything.”