Byron Murphy, a 4-star cornerback out of Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, announced his commitment to play college football for Washington on Thursday, according to Blair Angulo of Rivals.com.
The 247Sports composite rankings rate Murphy as the 11th-best cornerback prospect in the 2016 class. According to Scout.com's Jason Jewell, Murphy had more than 1,000 yards receiving as a senior and could play both ways for the Huskies during his college career.
What may make Murphy's transition to the college game difficult on defense is his slight build. He is listed by 247Sports at 5'11" and only 160 pounds. Murphy may be able to play in the slot as a cornerback but lacks the physical tools to play on the outside at the moment.
Washington may redshirt Murphy as it figures out what to do with his undeniable talent. Thanks to his receiving prowess, Murphy has advanced ball skills and excellent vision in the open field when the ball is in his hands. The cuts he makes appear effortless, and he is decisive as a ball-carrier. It stands to reason that he has a chance to contribute as a return man.
In terms of playing defense, Murphy does play bigger than his size and thrives in man-to-man press coverage. Perhaps most surprising is his ability to step up against the run and get physical. His bigger hits at the high school level won't have the same impact moving forward until he gets stronger, though.
If Murphy can pack on 10-to-15 pounds while maintaining his smooth hip movement and excellent change of direction, he has the potential to be a star for Washington.
Fans may have to be patient and curb their expectations for his true freshman campaign. However, the precocious Murphy has an all-around skill set that could see him impact all three phases of the game by the time he's finished on the college gridiron.