Season recap: Clarence Murphy
Hollywood Hills (Fla.) coach Scott Barnwell cruised down U.S. 27 last July with football at the forefront of his mind and four of his top linemen along for the ride.
The coach and his players -- which included Maryland defensive end commitment Clarence Murphy -- had just completed a lineman camp at the University of South Florida and were headed back home. On a particularly rural stretch of the highway near Lake Okeechobee, however, Barnwell was forced to make an unscheduled stop.
“We had an incident where a car overturned in a canal,” Barnwell said. “[Murphy] was with me and helped me rescue a baby and two people trapped in the car. There was a 2-year old in the car seat. The door had broken through and the car seat became wedged. On the other side, there was a lady unconscious in the water. It was kind of a nightmare -- I can’t even tell you. But [Murphy] completely ripped the car door right off that was trapped. I don’t know how he did it, but he did it. It’s a wonderful thing that he did. That’s the kind of kid [Maryland is] getting in the program.”
On the field, Maryland is getting a player who recorded 75 tackles and 12 sacks as a senior, helping the Spartans to a 6-4 record and a berth in the Florida state playoffs. Barnwell witnessed significant progress in Murphy’s game over three varsity seasons.
“I saw a kid who I knew was athletic that’s just gotten bigger and bigger and hasn’t even scratched the surface yet,” Barnwell said. “He’s going to be a very big kid. His dad is a big guy also. He’s just one of the best kids I’ve ever coached in all these years, from his attitude to the way he plays ... everything.
“[On the] defensive line, he’s the best kid we’ve ever had. I mean, obviously we do have quite a few kids from my school this year, probably six or seven, that will sign that first day. Murphy, he’s an unbelievable kid and he’s a steal. In my opinion, he could have gone to any place in the country and played.”
A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Scout and ESPN, Murphy selected the Terps over offers from Michigan, South Florida and Colorado State, among others. Barnwell said there are a few notable attributes Murphy possesses that set him apart from other high school defensive linemen. Those physical and mental traits lead Barnwell to believe Murphy has a bright future ahead of him at Maryland.
“His quickness stands out and he’s got a very long reach, too,” Barnwell said. “The kid doesn’t have any give-up in him. He doesn’t give up at all. He wants to be the best and he works hard. With some other kids, you have to push them towards that. But it’s all he wants to do. That’s just the type of kid he is.”
Murphy intends to major in criminal justice at Maryland and said academics were a major factor in his decision. A top-notch education plus an opportunity for early playing time and good relationships with the Maryland staff made Murphy’s decision an easy one.
“The school has everything. That’s all he talked about,” Barnwell said. “He’s playing in the ACC, he’s at Maryland, in this big nice area where he’s able to go do what he wants to do. The school offers want he wants and it’s the best at it. And he’s right there, so close to D.C. You almost couldn’t paint a better picture.”