Clemson defensive end Myles Murphy had one of the biggest impacts on the defensive side of the ball as anyone in the nation in 2020—and he was only a true freshman.
Now entering his second season in a Tiger uniform, he believes he is "way far ahead" where he was last season, and that is a scary thing for opposing offenses.
"Last year physically I came in at 6-5, 265 and I was building into my college body," Murphy said. "Now that I'm in my college body, I'm way far ahead of where I need to be endurance-wise, and pretty much everything because I'm moving very well right now with my weight, and I'm looking good right now.
"A lot of people don't realize that I played the whole last season between 275 and 278. Right now, I'm moving well with this weight at 280 so I'm good right now...Mentally, I'm for sure far ahead of where I was last year at this time. I wasn't really 100 percent into the playbook until after the opener. Now I'm in tune to the playbook and not just what I'm doing but the entire defense."
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During his freshman season, Murphy made an immediate impact. The former Top 5 national recruit earned Freshman All-America honors from several outlets in 2020 and enters 2021 credited with 51 tackles (12.0 for loss), 4.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and a pass breakup in 414 snaps over 12 games (six starts).
But he believes the best is yet to come for him. Again, a scary thought.
"(Working on) Knowing the playbook down to a T. Last year, I knew the playbook as far as my role, but now I'm trying to learn the playbook as far as what everyone does on every blitz, and even coverage and where the quarterback can scramble up the middle or outside," Murphy said.
"Last year, I was good in the run game but my pass rush was I guess mediocre or average or maybe a little above average. I most definitely want to improve in that and get more pressure in drop-7, drop-8 coverages and get in the backfield and create pressure."
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