Wide receiver Jeremy Murphy exceeds expectations in first season

When the Concordia Stingers football team recruited wide receiver Jeremy Murphy, they were confident they were getting something good. But, they couldn’t have guessed at the time how much of an impact Murphy would have in his first season.

“I thought Murphy was a very good receiver in college, and that he could bring that talent to the university level,” said head coach Brad Collinson. “He exceeded our expectations. To do what he did in his first year is rare. I knew he had it in him. I just didn’t know he would show it this year.”

Murphy comes from the Collège Champlain-St-Lambert Cavaliers where he played in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division 3. Murphy was named the rookie of the year in his first season there in 2016, as well as being named to the offensive all-star team. Last year, he was named the best offensive player and was once again on the offensive all-star team.

In his first season with the Stingers, the Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville native caught 34 passes for 491 yards. He also scored four touchdowns in eight games, which ranked him first of all RSEQ receivers. Murphy said his first season with the Stingers was a blast.

“It was a great experience, especially for a first-year player like myself,” Murphy said. “I learned many things, on and off the field, about being on time, my occupations, school and others. On the field, you learn just by the way you listen to your coach, and then apply the instructions.”

It was clear after their first game of the season against the Carabins de Montréal that Murphy would become a staple in the Stingers offence. People around the team knew that veteran James Tyrell would be the number one receiver, so it was up to the rest of the receiving corps to prove their worth – Murphy had an instant impact.

Collinson thought Murphy developed well in his first year with the Stingers, and showed he was one of the best freshmen in the league. He said Murphy is a competitor who trusts his abilities, which explains why he had success.

“I think he became a better route runner,” Collinson said. “He always had great chances as a receiver, which is key. Those are really things we enjoyed [from] him this year. Football’s very important to him. He enjoys the sport, and that passion transferred to how he played on the field.”

Murphy’s statistics allowed him to be named the RSEQ rookie of the year earlier this month. The wide receiver said he’s happy to receive such a reward.

“Obviously I wanted to win the RSEQ rookie of the year, but it wasn’t part of my expectations [entering the season],” Murphy said. “I was just trying to make my name known, and create a spot on the team for myself, nothing more than that.”

In addition to the RSEQ rookie of the year, Murphy was named the most outstanding rookie in Canadian university football last week, a first for a Stingers player since Liam Mahoney in 2007.

Collinson said the team won’t change its coaching because of how Murphy performed in his first year. He explained that everyone will start over again next season and progress at their rhythm.

“It’s not going to put pressure on [Murphy],” Collinson said. “We just want him to have a good season, and continue to develop and trust the process we coach here at Concordia. If he does that, good things will happen.”

Pressure or not, Murphy will be a player to watch in 2020-21. Teams now know what he’s capable of, and will try to limit his production when they play against him and the Stingers.

With a new quarterback next season, as veteran Adam Vance completes his fifth and final season with the team in 2019-20, players might have an adjustment period entering the new season.

However, some of the team’s wide receivers were also playing their last season, which could put Murphy into a bigger role in 2020-21, and allow him to continue on where he left last year.

Murphy said the goal for him is just to continue developing his game and what he’s been working on since joining the team last season.

“For me, it’s just to improve on what I’ve already created,” Murphy said. “As a team, we just have to win more than we did this year, and push it to the second round of the playoffs.”

Feature photo by Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers

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