Managing editor Nathanael Rutherford and contributor Charley Collier both contributed to this article.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this week that “the old May has now become January, it has all moved up a little bit” when referring to the recruiting calendar. He stated that with the early signing period, they can wrap up a lot of their class early and start focusing on the next cycle earlier than they used to.
With the early 2019 signing period now over, the focus on the 2020 class has intensified already this year. On Friday, the Vols offered one of the best players in the 2020 class.
Myles Murphy, a defensive end from Powder Springs, Georgia, tweeted Friday morning that he is “blessed to receive an offer from the University of Tennessee.”
— M Y L E S M U R P H Y💯 (@BigMurphy_25) December 21, 2018
Tennessee will join a long list of schools that are looking to make him the cornerstone of their class. Murphy already holds offers from a plethora of schools, including Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia.
Murphy is a composite five-star per 247Sports. He is the No. 13 overall player in the nation and the 2nd-best strong-side defensive end in the class.
He took an unofficial to Knoxville back in October, and he’s teammates with 2019 Tennessee signee Jaylen McCollough.
It’s not often you can say this about a five-star, but he actually may be slightly underrated. Murphy is a generational talent, and he has shades of Myles Garrett in him. Having him at No. 13 overall might be a little low as long as he continues to develop.
Murphy stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs 255 pounds. He is a big, strong man. What separates him, though, is his unheard of athleticism. He was clocked running a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at a camp this summer. He can keep up with most skill players at that pace, and he is just as explosive at the line of scrimmage. Not only that, but he has a 33.5-inch vertical and can reportedly squat 500 pounds.
If you’re looking for speed, strength, and natural skill, Murphy has it all.
Not only is Murphy an athletic marvel, but he has really strong technique as well. His highlight film shows off his good awareness and football instincts, and he plays with good leverage and pad level for the most part. He doesn’t usually play too high off the snap, and that’s rare for most younger defensive linemen in high school. He has an extremely strong burst as soon as the ball is snapped, and he possesses some deceptively adept power moves. His speed rush is what draws the most attention, but he can beat offensive linemen in a variety of ways.
There’s no doubt that Murphy will be one of the Vols’ biggest targets in the 2020 cycle, and they’ll have to fight plenty of teams for him. Expect to see Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, and many other schools try to reel in this five-star.
Tennessee may have a unique edge thanks to McCollough being on UT’s roster, but that will only go so far for them. Murphy is a premier talent, and it will take more than having a friend and former teammate of his on the roster to sway him.