October 16, 2011

Murray having memorable season

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After quietly committing to Ohio State back in June, Steubenville (Ohio) defensive back Najee Murray has at times been a forgotten man in Ohio State’s 2011 recruiting class. Murray is having an outstanding senior season for the Big Red and he and his teammates are currently holding down the number one spot in the Region 11 playoff standings with an 8-0 record.

“It’s an exciting feeling being 8-0,” said Murray. “Last year we went 2-2 at the end of the season so we learned from our mistakes and every week we’re trying to get better and better.”

Murray has done just about everything for Steubenville this season. Whether playing corner, returning kicks, carrying the football, or playing wide receiver, Murray has proven to be one of the most versatile football players in Ohio.

“It gets a little (overwhelming),” Murray explained. “Whatever my coaches need me to play, I’ll fill in at that position for them at that time. I enjoy playing the different positions and trying to help the team out. Whatever helps us win, I’m down for.”

Murray has scored four touchdowns on the season and has locked down his side of the field on defense. This past weekend, Murray was able to match-up against one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in St. Joseph’s Collegiate (Ny.) product Chad Kelly, a Clemson commit. Big Red cruised to a 49-26 win but Murray came away impressed with Kelly’s abilities.

“He’s real good, I give him his credit,” Murray said. “He was calm and everything but we kept sacking him and ended up hurting him a little bit.”

Though Murray has put most of his focus into his senior season, he still keeps in close contact with the Ohio State coaching staff.

“I talk to them every Thursday before my game that weekend,” he explained. “That night we always have a conversation. I talk to coach (Taver) Johnson and he gives me advice.”

Murray has kept a close eye on the Buckeyes this fall and has been encouraged by the improvement of some of the younger players on the team.

"They're just a really young team this year so I kind of expected (the struggles)," he said. "I have noticed they are getting a lot better each week so that's definitely a good sign."

Murray also says he tries to keep in contact with the other members of Ohio State’s class as much as his time will allow.

“I talk to Tyvis (Powell) on twitter and me and Pat (Elflein) text here and there,” he said. “When I was at the first game (against Akron) I got to talk to Warren (Ball) and Frank (Epitropoulos). After I committed that first weekend, me and Josh (Perry) and Frank all stayed at Frank’s house.”

With just two games remaining on the regular season schedule, Murray and his teammates are a virtual lock to make the playoffs. Simply making the playoffs isn’t the goal at Steubenville, however, as Murray and company are eyeing a state championship.

“We just have to start having better practices,” he said. “We’re not practicing like champions right now. Once we get that straightened out, we’ll be fine and we should make it far. This team right here is better than the past two teams we’ve had.”


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