Milford graduate Murray signs letter of intent with Virginia Tech

Brion Murray is all smiles after selecting Virginia Tech over Texas Tech. Delaware State News/Ben Heck

MILFORD — If you asked Brion Murray a couple years ago if he thought he’d be playing Division I football at a Power 5 school, he probably wouldn’t have hesitated to say no.

Murray figured he’d be knocking down jump shots and reeling in rebounds on the basketball court in college, not locking down opposing wide receivers as a defensive back on the football field.

On Wednesday afternoon inside Milford High School’s library, however, the 2017 Milford graduate officially signed his letter of intent to play Division I football at Virginia Tech.

“I don’t think I would have thought I’d be in this position if you asked me a couple years ago,” Murray explains. “It feels really amazing. It still feels like a dream. I know it’s not really going to actually hit me until I’m on campus and working out with the team and everything.”

Murray didn’t even play high school football until his junior year with the Bucs. Before that, he had his mind set on basketball.
“It’s awesome,” said Milford football coach Shaun Strickland. “Every single bit of it has been him — us coaches, we were just resources. It was his work, his dedication, his performance in the classroom, we were just here to help.”

Brion Murray signs his letter of intent.

Although it took a bit of urging from the football coaching staff at Milford, Murray set foot on the football field for his junior and senior seasons before heading off to play two years at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas for his freshman and sophomore college seasons.

“It took a lot of convincing. When they (the coaches) told me to go play football, I was like ‘boy, I am not playing football,’” said a laughing Murray. “But yeah, it was a lot of convincing. Coach [Steve] Franklin put it in my head that going out there is a different world, and he told me that’s my chance to go play Division I.”

While he played all four years of his high school career on the varsity basketball team, Murray ultimately decided to pursue football at the next level.

“He’s a kid where Day 1, I told him, ‘basketball’s done, you’re a football guy. You can still play all you want, but I can tell you you’re really going to go somewhere big-time for football.’ He never stopped believing, and here we are today,” said Strickland.
His decision came down to Virginia Tech and Texas Tech, but Murray says it just felt right to become a Hokie.

“Virginia Tech just seemed like the right school,” said Murray, who was recruited as a defensive back.

The former All-State football and basketball selection had an on-campus visit to Virginia Tech on Saturday, Dec. 8 before receiving the official offer.

“It’s really unbelievable,” he said. “You see on TV, those high-up coaches, and then you sit in their office and you talk to them and you hear them have so much interest in you. It’s shellshocking, I just can’t even believe it.”

“When we showed up four or five coaches deep, one of the things they said was this really confirms things for us because the fact you guys just dropped everything, got out here and traveled late speaks volumes for who he is,” said Strickland.

The journey to playing Division I athletics is rarely an easy one, and Murray hit a couple of bumps in the road along the way.

He traveled over 1,200 miles to attend his two years of community college in Kansas and was forced to redshirt his freshman season.

“When I went out there, we all got redshirted together, so we were just fighting every day,” he said. “You have to be strong mentally, because it’s really a fight to stay on the team.”

As a redshirt defensive back, Murray wasn’t allowed to hit anyone at practice in his first season and he even got thrown out of his first couple of practices for laying out a receiver.

“When you’re redshirted, it’s not fun. Especially when you play defense and you’re a redshirt because the offense gets to hit you every day and when you hit them you get in trouble,” Murray joked. “My first two practices I got kicked out. Me and one of the receivers got jawing – he went up for a pass, I was playing safety, and I cleaned him.”

Although it’s a tough process, Murray says it really helped him get ready for when it’s his turn on the field.

“If you’re really honest with yourself and you feel you’re not ready — because I wasn’t ready — the redshirt process is good for you because it makes you ready,” he explains. “I had an opportunity to really hone my skills and work on my technique and everything, as well as excel in the weight room.”

Following a strong sophomore campaign with the Coffeyville Red Ravens, Murray began garnering more and more interest from Division I programs.

Playing at Virginia Tech will allow Murray to stay relatively close to home while playing for the Hokies over the next three seasons.
“He’s a kid that, if he’s got a goal in mind, he’ll never fall short,” said Strickland. “And now we get to watch him on Saturdays. I’m excited for his future.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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