Trent Murphy has grinding away on The Farm in general obscurity, playing the “other linebacker” role in the Stanford Cardinal defense to Chase Thomas. With Thomas off the NFL, however, the spotlight as the top outside linebacker at Stanford falls on Murphy and he couldn’t be more ready. In 2013, he will flourish in that role and play his way into the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Had he decided not to return to school for his senior season with Shayne Skov, he likely would have been an excellent, mid-level pick of some team and rewarded them with a solid rookie season next fall. But the 6-foot-6 beast off the edge came back for one more run with Stanford to hone his craft and push his stock as high as possible for his entry into the professional ranks.
Last season, he was already one of the more disruptive forces in college football, recording 56 total tackles and leading Stanford with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He was named first-team All-Pac 12 for his efforts and earned second-team preseason All-American honors this summer. Stepping up into a leadership role in 2013 should only increase the role Murphy plays in the defensive schemes and only improve on his impressive stats and accolades.
Head coach David Shaw should be very thankful for his presence. After last season, he could have lost Murphy and Skov along with Thomas to the NFL and had to replace all of his excellent linebackers at once. But Murphy and Skov decided to return and Murphy should continue to hone his skills coming off the edge and emerge at the end of 2013 as an elite pass-rusher in college football and a sure-fire first round pick in next year’s NFL Draft.