Clemson’s incredible 2020 class picked up another 2 members last week in what’s been a scintillating month of May for Tiger recruiting. On Friday, it was Myles Murphy who announced his decision to attend Clemson, choosing Dabo Swinney and staff over their primary competitors Auburn, along with legitimate offers from nearly every major program in the country.
As QT has stated before, Clemson did a masterful job of keeping things on the down low throughout this recruitment, exploiting UGA’s complacency in recruiting an in-state prospect. Before the Dawgs realized they were no longer leading (or even 2nd for that matter), Clemson had already amassed an insurmountable lead for the top prospect in the Peach state. But this recruiting win represents more than just sticking it to UGA or Auburn, as it highlights Clemson’s consistent ability to beat out major programs for elite Southeastern prospects, especially in Georgia, yet again. Myles Murphy is a DUDE, and the most sure-fire elite Defensive End prospect in the 2020 class.
Murphy is a “first-off-the-bus” type of prospect, standing at 6’5, 260 pounds. You’ll quickly notice by looking at his upper body that he still has lots of room to add good weight. This is because even though Murphy is already 260 pounds, he still has loads of growth potential. He possesses a huge frame, and is extremely long with a 6’10 wingspan; traits that will also serve him well coming off the edge. Based on these observations, there’s no reason to think that he can’t play at 275-280 pounds, or even potentially up to 290.
That crazy frame and growth potential make the testing’s numbers Murphy put up in the Georgia Opening regional all the more impressive. With a 40 time of 4.65, a shuttle time of 4.28, and a vertical leap of 34 inches, Murphy has freakish athleticism especially for his size. To put those numbers into perspective, only 10 DE/Edge prospects at the NFL combine this year ran a sub 4.65 40, and only one of them weighed greater than 265 pounds. His Shuttle time would only have been bested by 5 DE/Edge prospects, and similar to the 40 time comparison above, the heaviest of those who finished with a better time in the NFL combine was 266 pounds. It is definitely safe to assume that Myles will grow to be bigger than he currently is, and there’s little evidence indicating that he will not maintain his same level of athleticism.
Watching film and clips of Myles Murphy is consistently similar in one specific way: he dominates his competition no matter the level. He dominates at Hillgrove High School, and he put on a show at the Opening Regional this Spring, even being named the Alpha Dog of the event. He possesses lots of upside as a pass rusher, owning insane quickness off the edge that demonstrate his elite testing numbers on the field. His first step and explosiveness helps him catch Tackles off guard, and they’re often unable to even enter their pass set before being caught off balance.
Murphy also bested the most talented OL at the event, top-50 prospect and UGA commit Tate Ratledge 2⁄3 times. Once with a speed rush, the other with a bull rush.
Tate Ratlidge and Myles Murphy with a great battle. pic.twitter.com/72KE2t2Ftc— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) March 24, 2019
Someone that size should not be moving like that. While Murphy has elite quickness off the edge, if he is unable to beat the Tackle through speed he also has a powerful bull rush. A DE that can grow to his size has to be able to explode through an Offensive Lineman, something Murphy has proven he can do with ease. He simply overwhelms Offensive Lineman with both his speed and strength.
This creates some potentially devastating speed-to-power pass rush combinations that the Peach state prospect will be able to further hone once he gets to Clemson, and soon enough terrorize ACC Quarterbacks with.
Additionally, Murphy is relentless in pursuit with a high motor. The very first clip in his HUDL shows him tracking a ball carrier more than 50 yards downfield to save a Touchdown. Murphy is also great at the point of attack, and as a run-stopper. There are many instances where you can see his strength on film while man-handling an OL trying to block him. Extending his arms and showing his power against sometimes multiple blockers, Myles will be immovable until the ball-carrier reaches his long arms.
Due to Murphy’s size and frame, he plays at 3 and 5 technique for his High school at times, a role he could end up playing situationally Clemson. While playing this role, he has proven that he can shoot gaps as often required by interior DL in Brent Venables scheme. However, if he is to play on the interior at the college level, it would most likely be in nickel or dime situations where the long-tenured Defensive Coordinator wants to get his quickest pass rushers onto the field. This positional versatility is incredibly valuable, and Murphy’s physical traits will allow him to hold up well against Guards in a potential running situation, while overwhelming them with speed on passing downs.
Finally, Myles Murphy is an incredibly intelligent person and player. Early in the process, there was some thought that he would end up at a high-academic school like Stanford. He is very well-spoken from every interview that I’ve seen, and will major in Engineering at Clemson; a factor that played a huge role in his college decision. This intelligence manifests itself during zone read plays, screen plays, and even short passing plays as Murphy refuses to put himself into inopportune positions.
It is difficult to find many weaknesses on a prospect this freakishly talented, however, every prospect has them. The biggest weakness I identified was that he is slightly linear, and lacks elite bend for an edge prospect. With that said, while he does not have elite bend, he has good bend for his size. There are not many prospects with his frame that can bend like he can, however, comparing the top edge prospects in the country at all sizes, his bend is not necessarily elite. When an elite tackle with length is able to get into his pass set and beat Murphy’s initial quickness, Murphy will at times struggle to get around them as evidenced below.
Tate Ratledge vs Myles Murphy continued. pic.twitter.com/4GCRJayTT2— Trent Smallwood (@SmallwoodTrent) March 24, 2019
Which leads into the next point of weakness, that he is still a little raw with his pass-rush moves and relies heavily on his athleticism. This is not a bad problem to have at all, and it’s not dissimilar to Xavier Thomas coming out of High School. Many elite prospects do not need anything other than their physical traits to win reps at their current level, but in order for them to reach their lofty potential in college they must pair their traits with technique and coaching. As I wrote earlier, Murphy has all the tools to be an elite pass rusher through both speed and power moves. He must also further grow into his frame. He is freakish enough to be able to play early, especially on passing downs, but he can still continue growing likely another 15-20 pounds or more. Adding such weight will undoubtedly aid the pass-rush moves he will use that are built upon power.
The bottom-line is that Myles Murphy is as close to a sure-thing prospect as you can find, and this is a HUGE get for Clemson Football. For my money, Murphy is a clear top 10 High school prospect nationally and the top Defensive End in the 2020 class. Even with Clemson’s loaded depth chart at Defensive End, Murphy will compete for the 2-deep, and there’s a strong chance that he forces someone to transfer in the process. He is a unique talent, and due to his exceptional testing numbers at his size and frame it is incredibly difficult to compare him to any player currently in the NFL right now. However, due to the importance the NFL places on measurables and freakish athletes, Myles projects as a first or second round draft choice based on those traits alone. When you add in Clemson’s incredible track record of development at Defensive End, Murphy’s future is incredibly bright.
You can find Murphy’s full Junior Highlights here: