Top-rated Arizona class-of-2016 defender Byron Murphy revealed the current state of his recruitment Monday evening, unveiling a collection of eight favorites on Twitter:
The 5'11", 160-pound Saguaro High School senior is among the Southwest region's premier prospects. Murphy commanded several scholarship offers as an underclassman and cemented his status as an elite playmaker last season.
He caught 65 passes for 1,348 yards and 13 touchdowns, per MaxPreps, adding 53 tackles and six interceptions in the defensive backfield. Murphy teamed up with Wisconsin quarterback commit Kare Lyles and 5-star Texas A&M signee Christian Kirk, leading Saguaro to a state title.
His skill set suits him well on both sides of the ball, though he is widely viewed as a collegiate cornerback. Murphy is rated ninth nationally at the position in composite rankings.
Bleacher Report recruiting analyst Damon Sayles broke down his game during B/R's CFB Recruiting 200 Series.
Murphy is a high-motor player who has a knack for making a big play at the right time. His change of direction is solid, and he stays in plays with his recovery speed. When the ball is in the air, he goes into attack mode.
Murphy's awareness may be his best asset. He has good vision and recognizes routes well. He uses his instincts to break up plays and create turnovers.
Plenty of programs would love to land Murphy before national signing day, and this latest development provides a glimpse at legitimate contenders.
He included in-state options Arizona and Arizona State, along with Pac-12 opponents USC and Washington. Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M round out the list.
It's a group of potential landing spots representing three Power Five conferences. A commitment date is yet to be determined, so this process seems destined to feature multiple official visits and a fairly late decision.
Murphy mentioned in the tweet he would consider alternative universities if new offers arrive. Judging by his hot start—317 receiving yards and four scores through two games, per AZCentral.com—expect other coaching staffs to evaluate him further.
Arizona and Washington currently carry the bulk of experts' predictions in 247Sports' Crystal Ball. Both teams claim 40 percent of commitment projections, while USC accounts for the remaining 20 percent.
Murphy is clearly a coveted commodity in Pac-12 territory, so don't be surprised if at least three of his official visits occur within the conference. Arizona and Arizona State are each unlikely to stop pursuing the local playmaker until his national letter of intent is signed, sealed and delivered, despite a possible midseason pledge elsewhere.
Beyond state borders, Texas A&M is an intriguing option to monitor. The Aggies beat out a crowded pack of suitors for Kirk, a former Saguaro star, in the 2015 recruiting cycle.
Now head coach Kevin Sumlin and company aim to pull off another pivotal pickup from the same program. Texas A&M is a no-brainer on Murphy's remaining travel itinerary, especially since Kirk can host him on campus.
He is expected to visit College Station on Oct. 16, per 247Sports. That trip will be preceded by an official visit to Washington later this month.
Now that Murphy is on the record about his top choices, he can anticipate schools to push hard for campus visits in the coming months. It's not quite crunch time yet, but the prized prospect appears primed to enter this final stretch with plenty of interest.