Maalik Murphy entering transfer portal and what it means

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Texas quarterback Maalik Murphy entered the transfer portal on Wednesday, as first reported by ESPN.

This decision is not unexpected. With Longhorns’ starting quarterback Quinn Ewers likely returning for another season and hotshot freshman Arch Manning waiting in the wings, Murphy has found himself in an all-too-crowded QB room. 

Murphy had been the clear backup and was coach Steve Sarkisian’s choice to fill in while Ewers recovered from a sprained shoulder earlier this season. Murphy stepped in and helped lead the Longhorns to wins over BYU and No. 23 Kansas State, in which he combined to pass for 418 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. 

The 33-30 overtime victory over the Wildcats was critical in helping keep the program’s College Football Playoff hopes intact. And after that résumé-building win, Texas went on to win the Big 12 championship and earn its first-ever College Football Playoff berth. The Horns face Washington at the Sugar Bowl in a semifinal matchup on Jan. 1.

Murphy is a respected player and teammate. He loves to compete and has never minded waiting for his turn. There were rumors that he might transfer before this season after an impressive performance at the spring game in April, but Murphy was committed to the Longhorns. He wasn’t swayed by NIL deals. He wanted to develop under Sarkisian. 

“I’m gonna be candid on this, he didn’t stay because of NIL,” Sarkisian told reporters after the BYU game. 

“He stayed because he wanted to be part of this team. He just wanted to make sure that he had an opportunity to compete. And that’s what makes him special. And I think that’s why our team really loves him so much is that he loves his teammates. He motivates Quinn when Quinn is in there. He’s a great teammate with Arch. That’s why that quarterback room is so good right now. Those guys have a great rapport with one another.”

But now the time has come. Murphy got a taste of what it’s like to be the guy and start. He’s got great size — listed at 6-foot-5, 238 pounds — a strong arm, and should get playing time. Plus, there are plenty of top programs — Ohio State being one of them — who could use a talent like his.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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