Before the beginning of the 2021 Elite 11 finals, Texas Longhorns quarterback commit Maalik Murphy was a relative unknown in terms of what he could do on the field, as compared to his competition.
After all, Murphy was facing down the nation's consensus No. 1 overall quarterback and Ohio State Quinn Ewers, as well as various other Power 5 commits such as Clemson's Cade Klubnik, USC's Devin Brown, LSU's Walker Howard, Alabama's Ty Simpson, and Texas A&M's Connor Weigman -- each of whom entered the day ranked ahead oh Murphy by most recruiting services.
Despite that, Murphy entered the camp full of confidence. Not just in his physical tools, but also in his ability to learn, adapt, and improve his craft in the face of heavy competition.
"Man, it was a dream come true," Murphy told LonghornsCountry.com in an exclusive interview. "This is what competitors dream of, you know, going against people who are just as good as them, if not better. Trying to get better, find new ways to get better. You know, I can learn from everybody. I'm not the perfect quarterback or perfect guy. So, I'm looking to learn always."
In fact, in comparison to the other quarterbacks in the field, Murphy has often been seen as a 'raw' or 'rough' prospect, that hasn't been afforded enough experience to be considered a top-level college quarterback recruit.
Murphy, however, isn't out to prove his credentials or his ranking to anyone.
"I hear it. It doesn't affect me, though," Murphy said. "You know, I keep a level head. I know what I'm all about. And it's all about proving it to me. At the end of the day, it's all about proving it to me."
In fact, during Wednesday night's opening workouts, Murphy showed exactly why scouts consider him to be one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the 2022 class, showing great mechanics and footwork, as well as both tremendous velocity and impressive touch at every level of the field.
Texas Longhorns Spring Football Depth Chart: Fresh Blood at TE
The Longhorns are looking for new starters to replace Cade Brewer and Jared Wiley in 2022
Texas Longhorns Spring Football Depth Chart: Xavier Worthy And Who?
Who will be the No. 2 receiver behind Xavier Worthy come September in Austin?
"I feel like I did great," Murphy said. "I had a lot of fun out here competing with other great quarterbacks in my class, you know, I couldn't ask for a better day."
Speaking of other quarterbacks, Oklahoma's Spener Rattler, Liberty's Malik Willis, and North Carolina's Sam Howell each served as counselors during the first day of the Finals and showed Murphy exactly what he has the chance to develop into down the road when he dons the burnt orange and white.
"Definitely, I learned a lot from them, actually," Murphy said. "Like going first, and the drills are helping a lot. Then showing how familiar they are with doing that, knowing that it does come along at the next level. It makes me feel comfortable knowing that I can do it... get out there and compete at a high level doing it. So, it's all about a level of comfortability. You know, getting better and better."
So what happens for Murphy when he reaches that level of comfortability and starts to polish his already impressive game under center?
Simple -- He wants to win a California state championship, and re-write the Junipero Serra High School record books, set by former SMU quarterback Conner Preston, who threw for over 3,500 yards and more than 40 touchdowns while earning first-team All-State and All-CIF honors.
"We want to win state. That's a team goal always, you know? To be state champs," Murphy said. "So win state. And then a personal goal is breaking the single-season passing record, which was set in 2009 by a quarterback that had, I think, four NFL receivers on his team. He threw for 3700 yards. I'm going for 4,000 or more. He had 44 touchdowns, so I want to go for 45 or more. You know, I'm just trying to top everything that he had and leave my mark."
What do you think of Murphy's chances at Elite 11? Comment and join in on the discussion below!
Want the latest in breaking news and insider information on the Longhorns? Sign up for your premium membership to LonghornsCountry.com today, and get access to the entire Fan Nation premium network!