Unofficially visiting Florida at the beginning of the month, Unity Reed inside linebacker Shawn Murphy — who occupies a position of need for the Gators — is one of the highly regarded 2022 talents UF has made significant headway for since the NCAA reinstated in-person contact on June 1.
Soaking in the facilities and nice weather in Gainesville on June 3, Murphy would be greeted with a warm welcome by the Gators staff, namely linebacker coach Christian Robinson.
“It was a very great experience. It was really nice to connect with coach Rob for the first time in a long time in person. It’s just a good community, honestly. Everything was pretty, the surroundings, the facilities, the environment, the community, everything was just beautiful," Murphy said following the Under Armor Future 50 event at IMG Academy on Saturday.“Everything was just perfect," he added.
Spending the majority of his time with Robinson, Murphy would have the opportunity to discuss the role(s) he would assume in the Gators scheme upon his entry to the next level.
“I would play at an inside backer position, but I know in college you don’t have a specific position. If you linebacker, you play linebacker, every linebacker position. So you’re more versatile, and you’re more valuable as a player. Your money goes up so.
"I know when I start off, I would be a WILL [weak-side linebacker], but I know he wants to move me around at every position so I can learn everything, so my draft stock would go up.”
Proving he was more than a physical box linebacker that works well down towards the line of scrimmage with impressive speed and range as a one-on-one coverage man at Future 50, Murphy provides any college team with a multi-faceted skillset, something that plays into Robinson's desire to move him across the formation.
Looking to find an environment he’s comfortable in for three to four years, Murphy is currently deciphering through a top teams list of Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon, Oklahoma and Florida while reconsidering LSU for the place he will call home.
Seeing similarities in each of his remaining, including “the people, the hospitality, and the community,” Murphy’s deciding factor will lie within how he’s coached.
“How a coach is coaching me, if a coach is real or not, if the coach can coach in a way that I can respond to and collect all the information I need. All [those] factors go into it.”
As a result, connection with coaches plays a big role in Murphy’s comfortability with choosing a school, especially one far away from Manassas (Va.) like Florida. However, Murphy's growing relationship with Robinson pits the Gators in a favorable position as we advance.
Nonchalant about the timetable for visits and commitment date, Murphy is allowing his process to come naturally but has eyed down a possible end-of-summer commitment date if the stars align accordingly.
“Depending on what I want to do, I might take officials during the fall and watch the games and get a feel for the atmosphere, but I’m mostly thinking about committing at the end of the summer.”
If he is to hold off on committing when the summer ends in favor of taking officials, Murphy said Florida is a school he would “for sure” make another trip to - in the end, showing the mutual interest between the two parties.