Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman waves to Texas Longhorns fans as he arrives to compete against Utah Utes during an NCAA college football game at the Valero Alamo Bowl at the Alamo dome on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. [RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Football

Commitment 101: Longhorns add three-star defensive tackle Byron Murphy II to 2021 recruiting class

Posted November 18th, 2020

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Texas scored a recruiting win over rival Baylor on Wednesday afternoon when three-star Byron Murphy II flipped his commitment from Baylor to Texas. Murphy, a product of DeSoto High School in south Dallas, is a 6-1, 290-pound prospect who was a first-team all-district and an Associated Press Class 6A all-state selection as a junior. 

Murphy entered his senior season with 135 tackles and 6.5 sacks through two years on varsity.

“Texas became the clear choice after coach (Mark) Hagan and coach (Oscar) Giles laid out the plan. They told me how I would fit into the defense and that I’d see the field as a true freshman,” Murphy said. “I think my role at Texas will allow me to come in and have an immediate impact.”

Murphy is Texas’ 19th commitment in the 2021 class, which ranks 17th in the nation and second in the Big 12. He’s the second commitment over the last five days following four-star outside linebacker Terrence Cooks on Saturday. Murphy is Texas’ first defensive tackle pledge in the 2021 class. He’s the 24th-ranked defensive tackle in the nation, per 247Sports composite.

Skill set: Murphy is a high-motor defensive tackle who is a proven commodity against the best competition anywhere in high school football playing for Class 6A powerhouse DeSoto. He’s in the same district as Duncanville and Cedar Hill, meaning he’s playing against a host of future college football players in practice and on Friday nights. 

“I would describe my game as a powerful one-man wrecking crew that plays relentlessly every snap,” he said.

At 6-1, Murphy possesses a lower center of gravity than the prototypical defensive tackle, but that perceived negative can become a leverage advantage, much like it did for Texas-ex Poona Ford. Murphy played in the rotation as a sophomore, finishing the year 37 tackles, including nine for loss. 

His stock exploded as an all-district and all-state performer as a junior when he racked up 98 tackles, forced four fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. His 5.5 sacks proved that Murphy isn’t just a run stopper. He’s an athletic defensive tackle with the ability to rush the passer up the middle, which is not an easy trait to find in young defensive tackles. 

Immediate impact: Texas is quietly building a young, talented defensive tackle group behind junior Keondre Coburn. The Longhorns signed a trio of prospects at the spot in 2020, including Alfred Collins. The hiring of defensive coordinator Chris Ash caused the move from an odd-man front to a four-man front, meaning Texas needed more depth at defensive tackle. Through two classes, the Longhorns are adding that depth. Murphy should get a chance to redshirt unless he arrives capable of cracking the two-deep.
Fitting into the program: Dallas is an important recruiting area for Tom Herman’s Longhorns considering that Herman arrived from Houston. His first few classes at Texas were dominated by Houston talent, but Texas is starting to build success in Dallas-Fort Worth. 

South Dallas is a hotbed of recruiting talent with programs like DeSoto, Cedar Hill, Duncanville and Lancaster. Murphy should fit in easily at Texas because of his work ethic, and the Longhorns will hope that his presence on campus can help Texas snag more prospects from his area. 

Recruiting at the position: Texas only needed one defensive tackle in the 2021 class, so Murphy should be the only prospect at the position to sign with the Longhorns this cycle. Herman signed three defensive tackles in the 2020 cycle. Defensive line coach Oscar Giles will turn his attention to closing out the 2021 class with defensive end Shemar Turner, who plays with Murphy at DeSoto. 

PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLSTARSCOMMITMENT DATE
Hayden ConnerOTKaty Taylor4July 23 (2019)
Juan DavisWR/TEEverman3July 26 (2019)
Derrick Harris Jr.DENew Caney4Aug. 3 (2019)
Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan5Sept. 8 (2019)
Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial4May 2
Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Martin4May 10
Jonathon BrooksRBHallettsville3May 15
Casey CainWRWarren Easton (La.)3May 15
Isaac PearsonPProKick AustrailiaNRMay 29
Ishmael IbraheemCBDallas Kimball4June 15
JD CoffeySKennedale4June 15
Jamier JohnsonCBJohn Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)4July 3
Gunnar HelmTECherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)3July 27
Michael MyslinskiCBishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)3Aug. 6
Jaden AlexisWRMonarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)3Aug. 8
Charles WrightQBAustin3Aug. 22
Max MerrilOTStrake Jesuit3Sept. 25
Terrence CooksOLBAlvin Shadow Creek4Nov. 14
Byron Murphy IIDTDeSoto3Nov. 18

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