November 13, 2011
Video: Murray goes out with a bang
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Steubenville (Ohio) defensive back Najee Murray saw his high school playing career end on Friday night in a tough 24-22 loss to Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney. The 5-foot-11, 172-pound prospect certainly did all he could in the loss, making numerous big hits, forcing turnovers, and even contributing on offense.
As the only member of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class that I had not yet seen live and in pads, I wasn't sure what to expect on Friday night but Murray certainly did not disappoint. Murray was offered by Ohio State as a cornerback but plays free safety for Steubenville and is versatility was on full display on Friday.
The first thing that jumps out about Murray is how physical he is for his size. At about 175-pounds, Murray is a heat-seeking missile out there and delivers as powerful of a punch as any defensive back in Ohio. Playing at Canton Fawcett Stadium on Friday, there were naturally some comparisons to former McKinley standout Mike Doss being thrown around by many in attendance.
While putting Murray in the same class as a three-time first team All-American is a bit pre-mature, he reminds me a lot of Christian Bryant in how he flies to the football and arrives with bad intentions. Both Bryant and now Murray were two of the most physical prospects in Ohio as seniors despite not being the biggest guys on the field.
Murray was solid in run support as well, coming up and making plays in the box and was rarely out of control or out of position. Murray also showed excellent sideline-to-sideline speed from his centerfield spot and prevented a few big plays on Friday by using his speed to cut the play off along the sideline.
What Ohio State is getting here is an extremely physical and versatile defensive back. Murray is physical enough to play safety and has the speed and cover skills to play corner. I came into the game thinking he was a straight corner prospect but his ability to be a feared hitter makes him intriguing as a safety. Most times, when you talk about sliding a kid over to safety it is because they don't have the cover skills to play corner but in Murray's case it is much more about taking advantage of how physical he is and well he tackles.
Of all of the Ohio State commits, Murray is probably the one that deserves a much higher ranking than his current position at No. 43 in Ohio.
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