Crestview’s Murphy hopes to soar with Falcons

COLUMBIANA — Early on in his football career, Crestview senior defensive end Jordan Murphy was convinced he had what it took to play college football at a high level.

“It’s always been a goal of mine,” Murphy said. “A lot of people have always told me that I would never do it, but I proved them wrong by chasing my dream and making it happen.”

On Wednesday, Murphy made his dream official when he signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and football careers at Bowling Green State University.

“Jordan is the epitome of a hardworking Ohio guy,” Bowling Green defensive line coach Marcus White said. “He has great size and the kid comes to work every single day. He will have a shot to play early because of his size and outstanding work ethic.”

Murphy, who received a full scholarship, ended this season as the number five rated defensive end in Ohio by

“It feels great to finally be part of the Bowling Green family officially,” Murphy said.

The Rebels struggled to a 3-7 record in 2016, but Murphy was a bright spot. He was a constant focal point of opponents’ game plans and collected 36 solo tackles, including 15 for losses with three sacks and two fumble recoveries. He was a third-team Division V All-Ohioan and was named to the Morning Journal All-Area first team for the second straight season.

“Jordan is someone who constantly plays 100 miles per hour, he’s a sideline-to-sideline player,” Crestview coach Paul Cusick said. “More than anything else, I think he just loves to play the game and you can see that with his effort. He’s a kid that gets after it every second.”

Murphy found a place in Crestview’s starting lineup by the middle of his freshman season and never looked back. After his sophomore season, Murphy’s stock began to rise dramatically after attending a camp at the University of Toledo and receiving his first offer from the Rockets.

“The first few camps I went to, nothing promising happened, but after that Toledo camp, everything kind of took off,” Murphy said. “It was a great experience.”

It didn’t take Cusick long to realize that Murphy had big-time potential.

“You could see towards the end of his sophomore year he really started to take off and blossom,” Cusick said. “You knew he had the potential. He and his parents have done a great job of going after it, promoting him and doing what needs to be done as a family to get him in this position. He also works very hard, and you can’t replace that.”

The Falcons are coming off a 4-8 season (3-5 in the Mid-American Conference) under first-year coach Mike Jinks. Murphy said he also seriously considered Air Force, Ohio University and Texas State. He said what ultimately sold him on Bowling Green was the comfort he felt with his incoming freshman class and the coaching staff.

“The guys in the class I’m coming in with are all very good kids and they’re all very athletic. I have a confident feeling that we’re going to be a very good team,” Murphy said. “The coaching staff is also a group of genuine, down-to-earth guys. Not only that, but they’re guys I’d totally trust with my future.”

Another thing Murphy counted in Bowling Green’s favor was the hope of early playing time. Murphy said his goal is to immediately step in and compete for a starting spot at defensive end.

“I want to try and earn a starting position this season,” Murphy said. “The coaches talked about how I could probably get a lot of playing time this year since a lot of the defensive linemen already there are inside guys. I’d like to start as early as I possibly can.”

Cusick thinks Murphy’s versatility and high energy level will carry over well in college.

“When I’ve talked to coaches that have recruited him, I think they really like his motor and the fact that he can play inside at tackle or outside at end,” Cusick said. “He’s going to be a guy that can move around and give Bowling Green multiple looks up front. I think he’ll get a chance to go in there and compete early and see what happens.”

Game notes

¯ Murphy also credited his longtime trainer, Dick Hartzell, with helping his development. Murphy started working with Hartzell in eighth grade.

“He’s one of my biggest mentors,” Murphy said. “He’s become almost like a grandfather to me. He gives me a lot of advice on things I have to avoid and things I have to do to be successful.”

¯ Crestview’s last Division I football recruit was Brad Gecina (Class of 1995), who played linebacker at Indiana University.

¯ Murphy has not yet decided on a major, but said he is considering biology.

¯ The Falcons will kick off their 2017 season Saturday, Sept. 2, at Michigan State.