Byron Murphy was the crown jewel of Washington’s 2016 recruiting class coming out of Saguaro High School in Arizona. At the time he was the 3rd highest rated recruit ever under Coach Petersen at UW per the 247 Sports Composite finishing only behind Budda Baker and Jake Browning. It wasn’t hard to see why. Murphy finished his senior season with 88 catches for 1,721 yards and 21 touchdowns on offense and added in 52 tackles and 7 interceptions on defense. He could’ve been an elite prospect on either side of the ball but ultimately chose to play corner in college.
Murphy redshirted his first year with Kevin King and Sidney Jones entrenched at the outside corner spots and it quickly became apparent that this was a luxury. Murphy won the Defensive Scout Team MVP award and everyone knew that had the team not had a pair of 2nd round draft picks waiting outside that Murphy easily could’ve started as a true freshman.
The hype was palpable entering his RS Fr season and quickly rose to a fever pitch after Murphy had a pair of interceptions in his first college game at Rutgers. Unfortunately, after just 3 games Murphy sustained a leg injury in practice and missed 7 contests in the middle of the year. He returned for the final 3 games and managed an interception in the Fiesta Bowl against Penn State. His final freshman stats were 16 tackles, 1 sack, 3 Interceptions, and 10 Passes Defensed in 6 games.
Going into his RS So season Murphy was an unquestioned starter and quickly demonstrated he was among the best corners in the country. Murphy played in all 14 games and finished with 58 tackles, 4 Interceptions, 17 Passes Defensed, and 1 Forced Fumble. His dominance was noticed by just about everyone as he was named either a 1st team or 2nd team All-American by just about every media outlet. Despite playing in just 21 career college games Murphy declared for the NFL Draft as soon as eligible.
Murphy presents an interesting contrast for NFL scouts. The dominance of Murphy’s tape is undeniable. He makes plays that so few other players are physically capable of making. However, Murphy doesn’t have the raw athleticism that makes scouts drool.