For the second straight year, the Florida Gators have gone to Connecticut to find a quarterback. Last year it was Jordan Reed of New London. This year, the Gators have gotten a commitment from Tyler Murphy, a 6-2, 190-pound dual threat from Wethersfield, who accounted for 30 touchdowns in his senior season.
“Florida first contacted me about two weeks ago,” the dual-threat quarterback from Wethersfield, Connecticut said when contacted by Gator Country Sunday afternoon. “My quarterbacks coach and (Florida quarterbacks) Coach (Scot) Loeffler are good friends, so we sent film out to them a while ago. [Florida] had a meeting and decided they wanted another quarterback in. They contacted me and came up here to my school.”
With offers from schools like Syracuse, Temple and Fordham, Murphy hesitated to believe Florida was calling at first. Aprils Fools Day had long passed, but once he began talking to Loeffler there was a quick feeling of comfort. Their relationship grew in two weeks to the point that Murphy felt comfortable committing to the Gators after taking an official visit to Gainesville this weekend.
The speed in which everything happened still boggles Murphy’s mind.
“I couldn’t believe it at first,” Murphy said. “I thought the process for me was already over and I also saw they already had a quarterback committed.”
When Murphy agreed last week to take an official visit to Florida he still didn’t have an offer. He also knew it would be his one and only chance to impress the Florida coaches.
The Florida coaches weren’t the only once impressed. Murphy’s first visit to the Florida campus was more than he dreamed it would be. Then came the scholarship offer and it was a dream come true moment.
“I was told I was being brought down with the potential to be offered,” Murphy said. “I just kept my fingers crossed the whole time and tried to make the best impression I could. Things just worked out and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity.”
The first night of the official visit was to allow the recruits to spend time with Florida coaches and players in a family atmosphere. There’s no better place to do that than at Coach Urban Meyer’s house, with plenty of the already enrolled members of the 2010 class over as well.
“I came down Friday and went to Coach Meyer’s house for dinner with some of the other recruits and players,” Murphy said. “I met all the coaches there. I got to know Coach Meyer a lot better over the weekend.”
Saturday’s activities were focused towards showing off the academic side to Murphy and his family, as well as give him some one-on-one time with his future position coach. They watched some film and talked about the quarterback position at Florida, gearing Murphy up for what to expect as the facilitator of the Gator spread attack.
“Saturday we did a lot of academic stuff,” Murphy said.” After that, I spent a lot of time talking quarterback stuff with Coach Loeffler. We went to the basketball game and that was awesome to see.”
Sunday morning is when the magic happened. All of the questions and uncertainty going through Murphy’s mind over the weekend about a potential offer were answered as he sat down in Coach Meyer’s office.
“The University of Florida’s football program wants to offer you a full scholarship,” Coach Meyer said to Murphy.
It was the words he’s been waiting to hear his entire life, and there was only one reasonable reason.
“I really had no reason to wait,” Murphy said. “It was a beautiful campus. It’s warm and I like that. I kept thinking to myself that it was summer time, but that’s what it’s like during January in Gainesville. I loved it. The facilities are incredible, and the atmosphere of the whole city was great. I loved every part of it.”
Murphy has been a vital part of his high school offense for a while. He rushed and passed for over 1,000 yards this season, but he knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
And he couldn’t be more excited about learning from Coach Loeffler.
“He knows his stuff,” Murphy said. “He focuses on a lot of the little things to make you better. He obviously has a good understanding of the game and how to play the quarterback position. I just felt like coming to the University of Florida would help me grow as a player more than any place else.”
Now his mindset turns to the future. Before he moves to Gainesville, Murphy knows he needs to hit the weights and continue working hard on his technique before he works against Florida’s defense in fall practices.
“I weigh 190 now and they want me around 205,” he said. “I have to work out more. I’ve got to work on my balance in my drop backs. Coach Loeffler just told me to keep throwing and get my arm stronger so that when I get down there, we’ll be ready to work.”
And Murphy can’t wait to do just that.