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California QB Maalik Murphy chooses the Longhorns

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Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian went back to his California roots for a quarterback in the Longhorns’ 2022 class.

Sarkisian gained a commitment from Maalik Murphy out of Serra High School in Gardena, CA. Murphy, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound composite five-star prospect, chose Texas over 30 other schools including Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, UCLA, and USC.

Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook:

How he fits at Texas: Murphy is definitely a pocket passing prospect. He’s about 6-foot-5, 230 pounds and has offers from the teams who want their quarterback to push the ball down the field and outside the hash mark off play-action (Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan). There isn’t much film to go off due to the cancellation of his junior season, but Murphy made his name off a few impressive traits.

He has a cannon arm and is effective throwing downfield and into tight windows in the middle of the field. He can roll out and throw the ball down the field running left or right, and he has a useful knack for checking deep routes before “checking down” to comebacks which still pick up substantial yardage. The biggest concern is the sheer lack of reps and experience. His sophomore season was shortened by injury, his junior season didn’t happen, and he’s missing reps essential to helping a young passer see the field and make decisions under duress.

He’d be a project at Texas, his natural form and throwing would likely translate in time to Sarkisian’s offense but he’d need reps. – Ian Boyd

Coach SaysStrengths – Has great height for the QB position. Frame will accept more weight which could make him a monster. Has big-time arm strength and drives the ball well down the seams. Eyes always downfield and head stays up under pressure. Establishes a good throwing platform. Nice early hip opening. Finishes with a nice wrist snap. Good accuracy to short and intermediate areas. Not afraid of the field throw. Competitive. Has more development ahead of him. Good stiff arm in the open field.

Areas for Improvement / Concern — Takeaway from center is shuffling. Doesn’t have a crossover step. Carries the ball lower than I’d like (concern for both elongating the delivery and a strip sack risk). Elongates throwing motion at times. Several highlights show him whipping the shoulder rather than following through and rotating his torso. Would like to see more downfield throw highlights. Half-field and limited reads in his offense. Would like to see better anticipation. A plodding runner. Isn’t going to run away from anyone. Only has five games on tape. Zero touchdowns. Has a 44% completion percentage in those games. For a guy that’s been privately coached, he looks remarkably raw. Did I mention he hasn’t thrown a varsity touchdown? Sark is taking a risk here if he’s passing up in-state talent for a kid that just hasn’t put much on tape. He’ll look like a genius if he hits on this one. His grade is “incomplete”.

How this affects Texas: Sarkisian’s first quarterback take for 2022 could be very telling. It’s been the hottest debate since he took over the reins of the Longhorn program. He doesn’t appear to be a take for USC or Oregon, leaving UCLA and Rutgers as UT’s competition. If Murphy joins the C/O 2022, he’ll instantly inject momentum into an already rising class for UT. The biggest question becomes, how does this affect UT’s chances with Quinn Ewers? Answer: I don’t believe it does. Ewers has no problem with Texas taking another passer in this cycle, especially one from Cali with limited experience who still has the ability to possibly bring a few other prospects on board. It’s a long time until December, so you take the bird in the hand, while continually building with the eagle. – Justin Wells

Murphy is the fourth commit of Texas’ 2022 class joining Jaydon Blue (Klein Cain), Armani Winfield (Lewisville), and Jaylon Guilbeau (Port Arthur Memorial).