July 11, 2004

Murdock has new leader after UF camp


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O.J. Murdock video highlights (Ultimate Ticket subscription required -- click here to get a 7-DAY FREE TRIAL)

After spending a few days at a Florida State camp earlier in the week, Tampa (Fla.) Middleton wide receiver O.J. Murdock checked into Gainesville on Saturday to participate in Florida's Rising Senior Camp. Despite playing football all week, Murdock still had plenty left in his tank to put on a show for the UF coaches.

Murdock blazed the competition in the 40-yard dash, running 4.34 seconds. Murdock also boasted a vertical jump of 37 inches, but he turned in his best performance of the camp catching passes from quarterback Ryan Perrilloux and facing off against cornerbacks Demetrice Morley and Bryan Evans.

For his performance at the camp, Murdock had a sit down with UF head coach Ron Zook before he left Gainesville.

"It went well," Murdock said. "He just told me not to worry about what everybody is saying about him not going to be here next year. He just wanted me to keep my head straight and just have me focus on this season, getting my grades straight and everything will take care of itself."

Murdock left Gainesville uncommitted, but UF did leave a lasting impression.

"Right now, I would probably say that Florida is first, then Florida State and then Miami," he said.

Murdock said in their meeting that Zook asked some questions about his interest in UF and told Murdock not to worry about making an early commitment to any school.

"He did ask me questions about if I was ready to be a Gator, and I told him that I am ready to be a Gator anytime," Murdock said. "I have been ready up to this point, but I was just focused on this camp. I did a good job. I ran a couple of routes good and caught the ball real well and just had a great showing.

"He really doesn't want me to commit early. He wants me to go wherever my heart is at -- that is where he wants me to go. He is not expecting me to commit early. He just wants to make sure everything is allright and I don't get sidetracked."

FSU is one team that will certainly be interested in hearing from Murdock after his stop at UF. At the FSU camp, Murdock did not run in the 40-yard dash, but did boast a 38-inch vertical jump and worked out in passing drills.

"I am just going to tell them (FSU) that the camp went well and that I talked to coach Zook," Murdock said. "I won't go into great detail because I am sure they will find out that I did well by other sources."

At the FSU camp, it was the first time that Murdock met and caught passes from Perrilloux. The two were roommates at FSU and have quickly made a strong bond.

"He is very consistent with the ball," Murdock said. "He still has a rifle on him and he will always have that the way I see it. We definitely will keep in contact and we might end up going to the same school."

Murdock's recruiting and status as a top-notch prospect is unfurling much like Miami wide receiver Lance Leggett's recruiting did last year. After consecutive camp stops at FSU and UF, where Leggett put on outstanding performances, he shot up the recruiting ranks. Rivals.com recently ranked Murdock a four-star prospect and the No. 21 wide receiver prospect in the country, but after impressive camps at FSU and UF, his ranking might be on the rise.

"Being a five star prospect it says a lot about you as a person and a lot about you as an athlete," he said. "If you are a five-star prospect, you are doing something right. Being a five-star prospect is something I am looking forward to being."

Now with the FSU and UF camps out of the way, Murdock has started to turn his attention to the Junior Olympics in Iowa the first week of August. A few weeks back, Murdock qualified for the Junior Olympics in Orlando and he will participate in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 in Iowa.

Murdock's latest offer came last week from the Pittsburgh Panthers. His offer count is climbing and Murdock doesn't plan to make a verbal commitment in the near future.

"I am going to go down to Signing Day," he said. "If I commit early it will not be out in the open. It will be more like I will tell the coaches of the school I want to attend, but I don't want anybody else to know. I want to wait until Signing Day."


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