NCF On The Trail: Kyler Murray

The shockwaves from Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kyler Murray’s unofficial visit to Texas on Wednesday were still being felt Thursday because he's such an important target for both schools.


Everything is bigger in Texas, including the recruiting battles.

Kyler Murray, the nation’s No. 13 overall player and top dual-threat quarterback, and ESPN 300 receiver DaMarkus Lodge took a surprise unofficial visit to Texas Wednesday, sending shockwaves through the Lone Star State. All involved had kept quiet about these plans until Murray and Lodge tweeted photos of Texas uniforms with their respective numbers on Wednesday afternoon.

The news of Murray, who completed his career at Allen High School with a perfect 43-0 record and three Texas state championships, visiting the Forty Acres is big enough by itself. But when you consider Murray has been committed to rival Texas A&M for more than seven months, news of the visit quickly mushroomed into one of the biggest recruiting headlines for the entire 2015 recruiting cycle.

The pursuit of Murray comes at a time when Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are attempting to flip the Longhorns' lone quarterback commit, Zach Gentry. Murray did take an official visit to Oklahoma during the season. He took his official to Texas A&M last weekend. Charlie Strong has said Texas needs to take two quarterbacks for its class. ESPN 300 athlete Kai Locksley, a Florida State quarterback commit, is scheduled to visit Texas this weekend.

Texas was once the leader for Lodge while Mack Brown was head coach, but the nation's No. 57 prospect committed to Texas A&M last summer. He backed out of that commitment and just took his official visit to College Station with Murray last weekend. Lodge is expected to take his official to Ole Miss on Friday.

The odds of landing both in a signing day stunner probably aren't great, but Strong and the Longhorns at least got their chance on Wednesday to show Murray and Lodge what Texas has to offer and put a little pressure on their recruiting rival.
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The newest and final ESPN 300 was released on Thursday, and eight Pac-12 programs are represented by 34 commitments. Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State all have multiple commitments in the list, with USC's 12 leading the way, followed by Oregon's six. Here are some news and notes regarding the most recent update and how things stack up in the Pac-12.


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Under Armour Game superlatives 

January, 3, 2015
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Every year at the Under Armour All-America Game, prospects make a splash, prompting us to make up some silly names and apply them to the recruits who stood out and made an impression. Here are our superlatives for the 2015 game:

'Hi, I'm Chucky. Wanna play?': Who would have thought defensive end Byron Cowart, the No. 2-ranked prospect in the nation, would draw his inspiration from a Chucky doll? Cowart arrived in Orlando with an edge, and he proved his worth from Day 1. He said the doll reminds him to be violent as a player. Regardless of his motivation, Cowart made a huge push for the top overall spot in the final ESPN 300 rankings.

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The practices are in the books and the nation’s top prospects will showcase their skills under the bright lights of the Under Armour All-America Game (4 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2). With an outstanding collection of talent taking the field, it can be easy to feel a football sensory overload.

Here’s a viewer’s guide to the game:


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No. 5 athlete Terry Godwin has been committed to UGA for almost a year, but that commitment is being tested and he’s doing a good job of keeping folks guessing about his final destination.

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UA Day 1: Best sights and sounds

December, 29, 2014
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Several players made incredible plays on Day 1 of the Under Armour All-America game practices. Byron Cowart had several sacks, quarterbacks Kyler Murray, Deondre Francois and Brandon Wimbush all made impressive throws, and Notre Dame commit Shaun Crawford had a big pass breakup. Here’s a closer look at some of the top plays caught on camera.

Notre Dame pledge Shaun Crawford with nearly perfect technique on a pass breakup of a pass intended for George Campbell.

Quarterback Kyler Murray with a beautiful touchdown pass.

George Campbell coming down with the catch.

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins against Alabama recruit Richie Petitbon.

Georgia recruit Terry Godwin makes a catch against Iman Marshall.

Quarterback Deondre Francois with a nice touchdown pass over the middle.

UNC OL pledge Tommy Hatton winning a battle against the No. 1-ranked player in the country, Terry Beckner Jr.

Oregon recruit Canton Kaumatule with a great spin move to win his one-on-one battle.

Byron Cowart with a nice move on Drew Richmond for the sack of Blake Barnett.

South Carolina commit Arden Key with the tackle.

Brandon Wimbush with a nice touch pass.

Recruiting notebook: Under Armour game 

December, 29, 2014
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Orlando, FLA. -- The first day of practice at the Under Armour All-America game went smoothly as the players transitioned into work mode. The recruits got the chance to build chemistry with their teammates and learn the playbooks for the actual game.

With so many highly ranked prospects in one spot there is no surprise that news continues to roll in.


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Tale of the tape: Stanford vs. Oregon 

October, 30, 2014
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While Stanford's trip to Oregon this weekend has lost some of its preseason luster, it's still a matchup of two Pac-12 North and recruiting powers.


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ESPN 300: Five who could flip 

October, 22, 2014
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The Class of 2015 has seen more than 35 prospects in the ESPN 300 flip or decommit during the cycle. As many as 30 more prospects in the ESPN 300 could flip between now and national signing day. With that possibility in mind, here are five to keep tabs on less than four months away from national signing day.


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The Texas A&M-Alabama game on Saturday is sure to be one of the top games in the country this weekend. The teams have had much success on the field since the Aggies joined the SEC, and that success has led to tremendous success in recruiting. This year is no different as both teams rank in the top four of the RecruitingNation class rankings. Here’s a closer look at how the schools match up in recruiting and who some of their remaining targets are.

Instant Impact recruit


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UA jersey tour: Christian Kirk

October, 9, 2014
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Christian Kirk is one of the top uncommitted prospects in the 2015 class. He has offers from across the nation and coaches clamoring for his services.

Kirk has everything from fans after him on Twitter, trying to convince him to pick their favorite school, to coaches flying helicopters with his number on it to come see him.

So far he has taken official visits to Texas A&M and Rice, but a few more schools will have the opportunity to wow Kirk on campus.

“I just scheduled UCLA for November 1 when they play Arizona. I scheduled Arizona State when they play Notre Dame on Nov. 8,” he said. “Hoping if it all plans out well, kind of have some conflict with the state championship game, USC against Notre Dame on Nov. 29. Those are the next three schools I’ll visit.”

Kirk is hoping to make his decision after he takes all his visits and after his season, potentially near the end of December.

The No. 36 ranked prospect in the country received his Under Armour All-America jersey on Thursday and while fans and coaches know who he is on the field, Kirk spoke a little about who he is off the field as well.

What one player are you looking forward to competing against?:

Obviously if I’m on the opposite team as him, being on the other side of Biggie [Iman Marshall] would be fun. That’s my boy and he loves to talk and I’m always giving it back to him especially when we’re together. If me and him are on different teams that would be fun.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?: I would have to go with a quarterback, so I would have to go with [Kyler Murray]. Give me that dual-threat, mess with the defense because he’s hard to scheme against.

What was your earliest football memory?: I started playing football when I was five years old and the last game of the season was the game that everybody got to play the position that they wanted to play. I played offensive line forever, so the coach let me go in at running back. My first carry I took it to the end zone and my dad was holding the markers. He ran all the way down the field with the marker and they had to tell him to come back.

Which football player did you idolize or want to be like when you were a kid?: Edgerrin James because my dad is a die hard Colts fan and that’s all I knew growing up. I knew No. 32 was the best player on the Colts and I played running back most of my life so I idolized my game after him and always wanted to be like him.

If you could take on any pro player in their sport who would it be?: I’d take on Kobe. I’m a Kobe fan and I’ve seen videos here and there of him at camps playing against little kids and messing with them. I think it would be interesting and fun.

Why do you wear your number?: I wear No. 2 only because Edgerrin James is my favorite player and he wore 32 in the NFL. When I got to high school someone was already wearing 32, so I just dropped the 3 and wore No. 2.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?: Before each game I listen to the Batman: Dark Knight soundtrack; the whole thing. I just have it playing. I love the movie and I just love Batman as a character. Whenever he comes around people just stop and nobody wants to mess with him so it gets me in that mindset and gets me in my zone.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

September, 23, 2014
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As always there was a ton of recruiting news from around the Southeastern Conference. There were several players who committed to SEC schools over the weekend, and Texas A&M lost a top commit. Here’s a closer look at the top recruiting news from around the conference.


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ESPN 300 Player of the Week: Sept. 22 

September, 22, 2014
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Each week, RecruitingNation's scouts will highlight great performances from the nation's top recruits.

This week, our top performer is top QB-DT Kyler Murray. Check out his performance.


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#AskLoogs: Kyler Murray's measurables

September, 18, 2014
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Want to ask ESPN RecruitingNation senior analyst Tom Luginbill a question about your team? Tweet it to @TomLuginbill using the hashtag #AskLoogs.

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Very. In fact, the evolution of offensive football over the past five years has made ideal measurables in terms of height far more of a luxury than a necessity. Far more attention is being placed on the end result and scheme fits to mask and sometimes eliminate a lack of height. The shotgun, movement of the pocket, quarterback run game and an emphasis on timing and anticipation have provided the ideal environment for productive quarterback play for shorter prospects. With Kyler Murray it is all about production, and you could argue, there is no other quarterback in this class as productive as he is on the ground and through the air. He is a precision passer with timing and anticipation within the pocket to get the ball out of his hand, which also lets him see the field better. Keep in mind, when you have knowledge of where to go with the ball pre-snap and are able to quickly process post-snap to get the ball out, it doesn’t matter how tall you are. This is where Murray has an edge.

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