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Murphy programmed to receive
You can count on A&M star being tuned in to draft
By JOSEPH DUARTE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
It has become somewhat of a tradition for Terrence Murphy to put a tape in the VCR, take a seat on his living-room sofa and watch the NFL draft.
Through the years, Murphy has put together his own personal football archives. The self-described Mel Kiper Jr. clone estimates having more than 200 tapes of footage stored in boxes at his Tyler home.
"I'm a student of the game," he said. "I know my football statistics."
If all goes according to plan, Murphy won't be watching much of this weekend's draft. The Texas A&M wide receiver is projected to be taken in the second round.
"I'd love to get off the board on the first day," Murphy said earlier this week. "This has always been a dream."
Most draft analysts have Murphy being taken anywhere from the No. 25 spot late in the first round to No. 40 overall in the second round.
"Until they call my name or the phone rings, I won't be moving off the couch," he said.
Murphy (6-1, 202 pounds) ended his career as A&M's all-time receptions and yardage leader. In four seasons, Murphy had 172 catches for 2,600 yards and 10 touchdowns despite playing in the Aggies' primarily run-oriented offense.
Those numbers shattered the previous school marks of 117 receptions for 1,740 yards by Bethel Johnson, now with New England, from 1999-2002.
Even with their run-oriented system, the Aggies have become a receiver factory, producing a group that includes Robert Ferguson (Packers), Dante Hall (Chiefs), Johnson (Patriots) and Jamaar Taylor (Giants).
"The joke we've got going is A&M used to be called Linebacker U," Murphy said. "Now it's Wide receiver U. It feels great to be the next in line."
Murphy hasn't always been a wide receiver.
He was an all-district quarterback at Tyler Chapel Hill, passing for 1,149 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. He decided to attend A&M after former coach R.C. Slocum promised to switch to him wide receiver. The moved paid off, with Murphy setting a freshman school record with 36 receptions for 518 yards in 2001.
"I knew A&M would never be a passing school," said Murphy, who finished with a school-record eight 100-yard games. "Over the years, we learned to throw the ball a little more, keep things a little more balanced. We're pretty physical at A&M in everything.
"We try to show that we like to block. Everybody thinks we just run the option all the time, but we can also catch and return kicks."
At A&M, Murphy also became a dual threat as a kick returner, finishing with 761 yards on kickoffs, fourth-most in school history.
Murphy said he considered entering the NFL draft after his junior season.
Two things kept him at A&M: The team was coming off a 4-8 season, and he thought an extra season might improve his stock.
"I love A&M," Murphy said. "I didn't want to come out after going 4-8."
Murphy was rewarded for his loyalty, as the Aggies turned things around and finished 7-5 while earning a spot in the Cotton Bowl. He also improved his draft standing with a career-high 56 receptions for 721 yards.
The state is expected to be represented well early on in the draft with running back Cedric Benson and outside linebacker Derrick Johnson of Texas projected as top-10 picks.
A&M could have several players taken during the second day of the draft, which is rounds four through seven. Fullback Keith Joseph of Lamar is considered among the top fullbacks available and could sneak into the third round. Defensive end Mike Montgomery is expected to be taken between the fourth and fifth rounds.
Locally, University of Houston cornerback Stanford Routt has seen his draft stock soar since the NFL combine and is expected to be a second-round selection.
Anthony Alabi (TCU) and Daniel Loper (Texas Tech) are the highest-rated tackles from Texas and are projected as third- or fourth-round picks. TCU receiver Reggie Harrell and Baylor outside linebacker Khari Long could go as high as the fourth round.
New Mexico's Claude Terrell, a La Marque product, is rated by several national publications as the No. 3 guard and could be taken in the third round.