Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


Email Patrick.

Murray has been standout at corner for Gophers

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: November 24, 2013 - 5:07 PM

Jerry Kill was hired as the Gophers football coach on Dec. 6, 2010. That meant Kill got to the party late to sign recruits in February 201l. The first full recruiting class for Kill and his staff came in 2012. They signed a large group of 27 players that February.

The ESPN recruting analysts gave four stars to offensive lineman Isaac Hayes and receivers James Harbison and Andre McDonald. They gave no rating to 10 players, including Eric Murray, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder listed as an "ahtlete'' out of Riverside University High School in Milwaukee.

Hayes was redshirted as a freshman. He wasn't on the two-deep this season until right guard Caleb Bak went out of the lineup with a concussion. On Saturday, Hayes was listed as the backup to Foster Bush and did not get in the game. Hayes has yet to play a down for the Gophers.

McDonald played some as a freshman. His status with Kill's program is vague, but he's not on the team for now. Harbison was injured last season. He's had unspecified issues this season, was out of uniform for a couple of games, and basically has been used on special teams.

Murray? If the people voting for postseason honors are paying attention, the sophomore will be at least a second-teamer at cornerback for the all-Big Ten team.

Adam Rittenberg, one of the Big Ten football bloggers for ESPN.com, gave considerable attention to Murray last week in the run-up to Saturday's game with Wisconsin.

Jay Sawvel, the Gophers' defensive backfield coach, told Rittenberg: "Our staff, we think Darqueze Dennard [Michigan State] is the best corner in this conference. I know Bradley Roby [Ohio State] gets a lot of publicity, and we think he's really good, too. But outside of those two, we wouldn't trade Eric for anybody in the conference.''

Murray was out of view to top-division recruiters after his junior season. His high school coach arranged to have Eric participate in three the spring/summer camps that colleges now have for junior recruits: at Central Michigan, Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

The Gophers looked at Murray primarily as a receiver at a mid-June camp. He was invited back the next week for a second camp, because Kill wanted to see if he had potential as a cornerback. The answer was yes, the Gophers made a verbal offer for a scholarship, and Murray immediately announced he was committing to Minnesota.

Murray got most of his work on special teams as a freshman. This season, he moved into the starting lineup at corner and has been a revelation.

Senior tackle Ra'Shede Hageman has some monstrous moments and he's going to be in the top 50 of the NFL Draft.

When the Gophers announce their postseason awards, politics will dictate that Hageman is named the top defensive player. For the assignments he's been given, to go one-on-one with star receivers, and for his role in making this a secondary that's competitive rather than porous, Murray is as worthy a defender for that award.

All that Murray is missing this season is an interception. He has 44 tackles, nine pass breakups and a fumble recovery at the start of the Penn State game. On Saturday, his toughness was visible. He was on punt coverage, took a blow and was on all fours on the middle of the field, vomiting. He was back on defense within a couple of plays.

Murray fits the profile of this Gophers' team. When Bak and receiver Derek Engel were in the lineup, the two-deep for this team included 31 of 44 players who were not made an offer from another school in a BCS conference.

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 8 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 7
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: H. Noesi 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Milwaukee - LP: Z. Duke 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: D. Thayer 3
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 3 FINAL
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 1
Miami - LP: H. Alvarez 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 6
Colorado - LP: J. Nicasio 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 4
Atlanta 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT