Vols are Among Early Favorites for Talented Pass Rusher

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    (Photo via Jay Westcott/News & Record)

    We’re now less than a year away from the early signing period for the 2020 recruiting cycle, and prospects are beginning to narrow down their list of schools after finishing up their junior seasons. A highly-rated athlete from High Point, North Carolina just named his top 11 schools, and the Vols are sitting in a good position.

    Myles Murphy, a strong side defensive end over in North Carolina, tweeted out a graphic earlier this week listing his top schools.

    Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, NC State, UNC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Western Carolina make up the other ten schools.

    Murphy is a four-star per the 247Sports Composite rankings. He is ranked as the 185th overall player in the nation and is the 7th-ranked played in North Carolina. He is the 11th-best prospect at his position in the country.

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    The 6-foot-4, 260-pound defensive lineman has seen his recruitment take off in the last six months. The Vols offered him back in August, and he’s added offers from Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame among others since then.

    Ironically, Murphy shares a name with another elite defensive end in the 2020 class that also has the Vols as one of his finalists. So if you feel like you have seen the name already recently, you have.

    Murphy was a standout player his junior year at Southwest Guilford High School. Per MaxPreps, he tallied 53 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks this past season. He recently accepted an offer to play in the 2020 Polynesian Bowl.

    On the field, it is clear to see why teams suddenly fell in love with Murphy this past high school season. He possess elite size, strength, and speed, and he combines that with superb athleticism.

    Murphy flat out just makes plays. He does a good job setting the edge as a run defender, and he’s a very good tackler. Where he really excels, however, is as a pass rusher. He is an explosive player. His first step is fast, and he doesn’t take any unnecessary steps. He uses his hands well to defeat blocks, and he does a good job keeping a low base and maintaining leverage. He will still need to work on his bend at the next level, and develop a few counters to his pass rushing moves, but he is already a very polished player.

    The Vols were just the third school to offer Murphy, so getting in early could potentially give Tennessee an advantage. He has yet to set any visits, but the Vols will need to get him on campus next season. Murphy stands out as a guy that can contribute right away.

    Getting quality pass rushers will be a huge must for the Vols in the 2020 cycle, and they’re in on several early. Murphy is one of those players, and he’ll be worth monitoring moving forward.