One of Stanford University’s most resilient players and standout rush linebackers, Mesa’s Trent Murphy, continues to turn heads as he continues on a path towards the NFL.

Murphy just completed his final season as a Cardinal, earning various honors, including All-Pac-12 first team. Murphy’s excellent college career has coined him a likely early-round draft pick in May. has him listed as the 44th best prospect in the draft and projects him as a second-round pick. Murphy, standing at 6-foot-6, 261 pounds, is a defensive machine. Notorious for startling quarterbacks, Murphy revealed his physical skill set at the Senior Bowl, as well as adaptability, leadership and character. He meets all the criteria NFL front offices take into account when assessing draft pick decisions.

David Caldwell, general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, expressed key attributes used by the Jaguars when evaluating athletes.

“For us, it is obviously on physical skill set, aside is character, intelligence, work ethic, passion, and competitiveness,” Caldwell said.

Murphy should have no problem attaining a high grade on this NFL rubric. His willingness to join the line-of-scrimmage during the week of the Senior Bowl may have enhanced his evaluation even further, proving his usefulness on the field.

The prospective NFL outside linebacker also displayed his charisma. When asked about his feelings of being only in his 20s and possibly being associated with the NFL in a few months, Murphy showed humility.

“As far as the salary standpoint, I love playing football and would do it if they didn’t pay me to do it,” Murphy said. “But it’s going to be a really cool thing if everything works out, kind of being able to provide that support for my family. I have five sisters, a brother and parents. Just really being able to have that security to know that everyone is taken care of, if need be, would be the coolest feeling I probably had yet.”

A true student of the game, Murphy assured that he will work hard in appreciation of the opportunity he has been given.

“Going against the best guys in the country is a pretty unique opportunity and to have this much talent, because usually there’s only one or two guys on a team,” Murphy said. “And as far as the main take away, we are all just trying to enjoy the experience, because most of the time I’m kind of all work and no play, so I’m going to try and enjoy this Senior Bowl experience.”

Murphy never envisioned playing for one specific team, but is eager to see where his future will lead.

“Growing up, I just really didn’t have one team I rooted for and invested that emotional energy in hoping they did well,” Murphy said. “Stanford has been pretty good with sending guys to the NFL the last few years, so I have teammates kind of all over the place. I’ve been rooting for those guys. It would be fun to play with them, but it would be a blessing to be with any team.”

Though the Senior Bowl is over, training doesn’t end for Murphy. Murphy knows that, despite his great talent, he has things to work on.

“My No. 1 improvement will probably be exploding in one direction and then reacting to what I see as I’m moving, as opposed to reading and then reacting,” he said.

Accepting an invitation to the NFL Combine (Feb. 22-25) is just another step closer to the NFL career Murphy has always dreamed about.

• Tricia Reddy is a senior at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. She is pursuing a career in the professional sports industry.

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