Tuesday October 30, 2007Louis Murphy: Leading By Example
By Cory Walton, UF Sports Information
It was in response to a general question about the state of the team's receiving corps as UF prepared to defend its 2006 national title, but Meyer's answer was a little more to the point.
"Louis Murphy has
earned a spot as a starting wide receiver at the
"He’s come a long way since his first year here. He might be the best fundamental receiver we have right now."
For Murphy, a junior from
Now, after he established
himself as one of Tebow's go-to receivers and hauled
in a spring-game record eight receptions that afternoon, Murphy had earned a
spot as a starting wide receiver at the
"It's always been my dream to be a starter and a contributor on this team," he says. "It didn't really hit me right away – not until the first game this season, actually. Being able to represent the Gators on the field is just a dream come true."
The move has paid dividends for Meyer and UF since that opening game, as Murphy, who has been dubbed "freaky fast" by members of the media, has emerged as one of the team leaders in catches and receiving yards. The catalyst for those in-season rewards, however, was an off-season training program that got Murphy into the best shape of his life.
The 6-2, 202-pound Murphy spent most of the time between his sophomore and junior seasons in the weight room, where he gained seven pounds prior to the start of the 2007 campaign. When he wasn’t pumping iron, Murphy could be found running routes and catching passes on UF's practice field.
"In the offseason, you have to get in the foxhole," he says. "You have to dig in and give your all for the person next to you. You're part of a team, and one way to make that team better is to make yourself the best player you can be."
That mentality has led to additional praise from the Gators' head coach.
"I don’t know if I've ever coached a guy who has changed so much," Meyer says. "His seriousness, his attention to detail, the way he takes care of his body and the respect he has for his family are all first-class. He really went after it this spring."
Murphy's development over the last year hasn't been solely on the football field, though. In a program that prides itself on the character and integrity of its individuals, Murphy has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches away from the gridiron.
becoming a man, he's maturing,” says
In Murphy's eyes, he hasn't yet reached the limits of his own potential. In fact, he didn't see Meyer's post-spring game statement as an end, but rather as a beginning to the next chapter of his career.
"You always want to go out there and get better, every single day," Murphy says. "The first time you get complacent and think that you don't have to work, that's when people pass you by. I know that I can keep on improving, and I owe it to my teammates and coaches to do that as much as I owe it to myself."