Heading into the 2022 offseason, the Texas Longhorns are in the midst of a complete rebuild.
Not a slight makeover or a re-tuning, but a complete demolition and restructuring of the very fabric of the program.
Perhaps the most critical part of that rebuild, outside of the staff that is in place, is the 2022 recruiting class.
And the first step in rebuilding any football team begins at the quarterback position, where Texas holds a commitment from Junipero Serra's Maalik Murphy, who watched every snap of the Longhorns' 2021 season and gave LonghornsCountry.com his thoughts on the state of the program.
"I honestly don't think it was as bad as a lot of people made it seem," Murphy said. "Of course, you know, we went on a losing streak. (We) lost some key games, some games that we should have won.
"But looking at it from a player's perspective, it's really on us, you know. The coaches can only lead us so far. At the end of the day we still got to play."
Murphy understands what it takes to win with the talent he's surrounded with. Before his senior campaign, many thought Murphy should have transferred to a higher-tier program to maximize his growth and exposure.
However, Murphy stuck it out, and the result was a championship.
Murphy has taken some of the lessons learned to become a better player and a better leader.
"As a quarterback, you know when things are going wrong," Murphy said. "You have to be that guy that the team could look at and really fuel their energy off of I’d say. And that's the person I've been this whole season. That's the person that I’ve been during the offseason preparing for the season."
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One responsibility of being a leader is telling hard truths. Texas, as a program, hasn't come to terms with a lot of hard truths over the last decade.
Murphy did not mince his words when evaluating the Longhorns on-field product in 2021.
"I think at some point, some of the guys were just not hungry enough, or it seemed like they didn't want it bad enough," Murphy said. "And we flat out didn't finish some games that, you know, we were up at halftime. But then the third quarter or fourth quarter comes around and we just give the game away."
Murphy will need to be this honest with teammates once he signs on Dec. 15 and enrolls for spring practice. If he is going to compete for the starting quarterback job, he must earn his teammates' respect.
The Longhorns are coming off an underachieving 5-7 season and are desperate for true leadership.
Murphy, however, is excited for the challenge of bringing Texas back and had a clear message to Longhorn Nation about expectations going forward.
"Be patient, you know we’re coming," Murphy said. "This '22 class and '22 effect, we are on our way. Sooner or later, we're going to be on campus and get things rolling, so be patient. I know this season isn’t exactly didn't go exactly how they expected it to go, but things are gonna change."
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