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South Carolina WR Transferring to USF
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South Carolina WR Transferring to USF
February 13, 2007
Receiver Murdock says he's headed to USF
Nothing against Zach Hobby the other day, but here's a potentially big transfer in the works: former Middleton receiver O.J. Murdock, ranked among the nation's top 100 recruits by Rivals.com two years ago, said Monday he's transferring to USF after barely playing in two seasons at South Carolina.

Murdock, 5-11 and 187 pounds, has sprinter-class speed, enough that Rivals had him as the nation's No. 10 receiver prospect after his senior year at Middleton, where he caught 57 passes for 927 yards and 11 touchdowns. His numbers at South Carolina? Not so good: one redshirt season, then one catch for 8 yards last season.

USF has not gotten a release from South Carolina, so coaches technically can't have even talked to Murdock, but Steve Spurrier told a Greenville, S.C., paper last week that Murdock was probably headed to USF, something that was confirmed Monday by his coach at Middleton, Harry Hubbard, and his brother, Middleton senior Sherod Murdock, who signed with Pittsburgh last week. I finally got O.J. on the phone at about 8:30 on Monday night, and he said he's made up his mind to come to USF this summer.

"I want to be closer to home," he said. "My family needs me, and this is a better fit for me."

Murdock said Jim Leavitt told him two years ago there would always be a scholarship for him at USF if he ever changed his mind. So this is a little like depositing a two-year-old check at the bank, but Hubbard said Murdock's talented enough that he has no doubt USF would take him, given the chance. USF can't really talk about him, so there will be some uncertainty until he's actually on campus. He could be like Amp Hill and arrive as expected, or he could ultimately be like Pat Carter and show up somewhere else.

Murdock would have to sit out the 2007 season, then would have two years of eligibility with the Bulls. I think the Amp Hill comparison would be an appropriate one, except that Hill's struggles at LSU were largely injury-related, while some of Murdock's problems were more self-inflicted. His speed is a great skill, and he'll have a year to work with USF's receivers and hone the rest of his skills for next season.

Now if you're counting at home, this puts USF at 29 kids -- the 26 announced signees, plus Carlton Hill and Tyrone McKenzie, plus now Murdock. McKenzie is a walk-on right now, but my understanding is he goes on scholarship this fall if he gets his hardship waiver. We know that Mike McGowan is a greyshirt who won't arrive until January, so that puts USF three over the limit of 25 initial scholarships, meaning it's safe to say at least three won't qualify academically. I know Pearl River in Mississippi is holding a spot for one USF signee, but since the kid is still optimistic about getting the test scores he needs to go directly to the Bulls, I'm not going to stigmatize him by outing him here. Just making sure people understand that not everybody's going to be there in the fall ...
02-23-2007 11:43 AM
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