Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hey Gator fans, meet your new starting quarterback - Tyler Murphy

Following Jeff Driskel season-ending injury on Saturday against Tennessee, back-up quarterback Tyler Murphy filled in admirably - throwing for 134 yards and one touchdown and rushing for another 84 yards and one touchdown. Murphy competed so well, some may be wondering where did this guy come from. Well, here's the 411 on Mr. Murphy:

Tyler Murphy originally was Temple's 20th verbal commitment in January 2010. Before quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and interim head coach Steve Addazio brought him to Gainesville and made him the Gators 26th commitment for the 2010 season.

Murphy was not a high-profile recruit before the Gators locked on to him. Rivals had him rated as a two-star prospect and the 10th best player in Connecticut where he played for Wethersfield. But Murphy's athleticism and film turned heads. He threw for 1,100 yards with nine TDs and 9 interceptions his senior year, but it was his 1,200 yards rushing and 15 TDs on the ground that made the Gators sit up and take notice. He also returned 9 kickoffs for 316 yards including an 80-yarder.

Murphy is part of a class that includes current Gators Dominique Easley, Ronald Powell, Cody Riggs, Michael Taylor, Mack Brown, Quinton Dunbar, Gideon Ajagbe, Chaz Green and Darrin Kitchens.

Prior to the start of 2010 fall practice, Murphy was behind John Brantley, Trey Burton and Jordan Reed and the depth chart,but was described as the most athletic quarterback of the bunch who needed work on his throwing. It was even thought he might be moved to wide receiver because of his athleticism. However Murphy always thought of himself becoming a complete quarterback. In an interview following his signing Murphy said he tries to mirror Tom Brady's mechanics, but said he also has elusiveness, like Michael Vick. Here is some examples of that elusiveness.

Freshman Year - a redshirt is earned
Murphy dressed for all 13 game his freshman year and played a significant role on scout teams while earning a redshirt. The Gators went 8-5 in what turned out to be Urban Meyer's sixth and final season.

Redshirt freshman - new coach and new competition at quarterback
Murphy's second year saw Will Muschamp take over the head coaching position and Charlie Weiss the offensive coordinator spot. The Gators also went out and recruited highly touted Jeff Driskel and equally skilled Jacoby Brissett to back up Brantley during his senior season. Murphy actually played in two games that year, but clearly the Gators were looking as Driskel and Brissett being the future at quarterback, despite Murphy outplaying all quarterbacks in the 2011 spring game.

Sophomore - Driskel and Brissett battle for No. 1
2012 was Murphy's third season with the Gators and his third offensive coordinator as Brent Pease took over for the departed Charlie Weis. In terms of contributions, Murphy was only spoken of as "adding depth" as a solid third-stringer behind Driskel and Brisset. Those two battled it out during fall practice and the first game before Driskel took over permanently.

Fall 2013 - Murphy finally gets some work with the first string
With Brissett's leaving the Gators for greener pastures and hopefully more playing time, Murphy is installed as the No. 2 guy behind Driskel. And with Driskel undergoing an appendectomy, Murphy was able to work with the first team for the first two weeks of fall practice. Apparently the work was enough because the Gator offense ran as efficiently as it has all year when Murphy came in for the injured Driskel today.

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