Murphy has paced Tigers all year
Justin Schuver, Hartselle Enquirer
With 2004’s leading rusher Justin Youngblood currently on the scout team at North Alabama, it wouldn’t have been a big surprise to see Hartselle’s rush-first offense take a considerable step backward in 2005.
Then again, very few knew about whom Hartselle had waiting in the wings. Montrel Murphy, a sophomore who has been the starting running back for Hartselle all season, has already collected 1,200 yards on the ground and has scored seven touchdowns.
Not bad for a guy who had never even started at running back at any point in his career before this season.
Murphy was a well-kept secret during Hartselle’s offseason. The Tigers’ opponents and fans didn’t know it, but their coaching staff had a talented young running back on its hands just waiting to be set loose.
Murphy occasionally saw the field in 2004 while playing special teams, and always played defense in his youth football days. Godsey said when the coaching staff saw the kind of speed Murphy had, it wasn’t a tough decision to tell the kid he was playing offense now.
Murphy set the bar high right away in his very first game as the starting running back. Against Austin, the sophomore rushed for 250 yards and scored two touchdowns. He had two fumbles early in the game, but his coaches and teammates kept faith in him and he delivered.
Murphy’s certainly not a secret anymore, averaging 5.9 yards a carry and continuing to work hard to improve. But with Hartselle fighting for its playoff life, the young back is more than willing to put individual pursuits on the back burner.