Former Utah Utes tight end Jake Murphy could have been back at school this year and in the Utes new Under Armour duds. Instead, the son of Dale made the decision to turn pro before his senior season and wasn't drafted.
Ute fans were probably calling for Murphy's head--calling him a son of a...probably came to mind. But, those fans who did not believeth in Murphy might want to start thinking about believing now, for this son of Dale is making headlines in the NFL.
Murphy, whose father happens to be that home-run hitting guy from the Atlanta Braves you watched as a child, was picked up by the NFL's Oakland Raiders in free agency and got some action on Fri. Aug. 15, scoring his first pro touchdown in a 27-26 NFL preseason win over Detroit.
Murphy's three-yard catch was the only yardage the Utah product would have on the evening at O.co Coliseum in Oakland.
The former Ute standout was the beneficiary of an offensive second half surge led by fellow rookie, and quarterback, Derek Carr of Fresno State--who took over the first-string offense after replacing starter Matt Schaub.
Carr chucked a bomb down the right sideline towards a receiver--which was caught in stride and taken inside the 5-yard line until the receiver stumbled at the three.
That stumble gave Murphy the moment he'll remember for an eternity. On play action, Carr rolled out to his right on the next play, looking for an open receiver as he ran for his life from onrushing Lions--including BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Cue the foreboding mood music. Having Van Noy come after someone is nothing new for Murphy. Fellow Cougar Ziggy Ansah took the night off for Detroit, so at least the former Utes on the Raiders roster felt some shred of relief, right?
Only if a former Ute scored a touchdown against those former Cougars, they'd say. Murphy is no small target at 6-foot-4 inches and 249 pounds, and so when he lumbered to his left across the back of the end zone, the only area that happened to be open, Carr threw the ball into that open space.
Murphy rushed into that space as fast as his legs could take him, outrunning the closest defender running alongside as he reached out cradling the ball in his arms like he was holding a newborn baby pig, taking the skin-wrapped object to the house for his only touchdown--and his only yardage--of the game.
What a play indeed--but this one was big. In his short NFL career, Murphy is now one catch for three yards and that touchdown. He is beyond buried on the Raiders depth chart, listed as the fifth-string tight end as of now. But, you have to think that Raiders head coach Dennis Allen got a gleam in his eye thinking of what could be with Carr and the new Murph. The old Murph is a Hall of Famer now, raising kids of his own--including his son--thanks.
Going undrafted didn't stop the son of Dale from getting in the stat column though--nor did it ever stop the late Raider and BYU great Todd Christensen, who Murphy saluted on his Twitter page by posting an old photo of No. 46 as a banner. Like Murphy, plenty thought Christensen had no chance of being an NFL player--let alone a star.
Murphy wasn't the only Ute to represent in Oakland on Friday, either. Rookie cornerback Keith McGill, a fourth round draft pick, had two tackles. Other in-state Raider players who played on Friday included BYU product Spencer Hadley, who had one tackle.