Tyler Murphy arrived at Boston College in January with muted celebration and tempered fanfare—speculative supporters and media members near unanimously considered Steve Addazio’s acquisition of the fifth-year Florida transfer an intelligent pickup, but no one really knew what to expect from the ex-Gator coming off a shoulder injury.
Whispers of Addazio’s big quarterback snag swirled for a few weeks, until BC confirmed his presence on campus in a matter-of-fact press release. Addazio commented publicly on his new old quarterback for one of the first times on National Signing Day a few weeks later. He praised his experience and character, but defined no tangible expectations.
“Tyler [Murphy] comes in here and brings experience,” he said. “He’s a starting veteran quarterback in a top conference. We lost a guy that had started a lot of games here, so we wanted to make sure we brought someone in here who has done it and has experience. He’s a northeast guy. He’s a BC guy. He probably should have been here right from the get-go.”
It’s pretty clear now that Murphy’s innocuous arrival marked the beginning of the best thing to happen to BC football since Addazio revitalized BC’s offensive line and created the ideal system to awaken Andre William’s dormant thighs.
Murphy showed up and saw the team’s potential right from the start. He won the starting quarterback job after separating himself from early-enrollee freshman Darius Wade in the spring, and with one year of eligibility left, his goal was to get on the field and help the resurging program grow.
Through nine games, Murphy’s driven BC into a supercharged adolescence via some of the most intelligent running of any player in the country, and recently, an improved connection with his wide receivers.
He chucked two touchdowns and ran for another with the game on the line in a bitingly cold and damp road win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, breaking Doug Flutie’s career QB rushing record in the process.
On first and 10—with a two point lead and 3:19 left on the clock—BC put its faith in the run, but the Hokies stuffed Marcus Outlow for no gain. Ditto for Myles Willis on second down. Then, after a timeout, the quarterback took off on third down, sprinting 57 yards for a touchdown—another one of Murphy’s miracles. The sight of Murphy dropping a step or two back, hopping in place, examining the field, and then bolting for the hole is both commonplace and magical at this point, always hoped for by BC fans, but still surprising when it happens. Like Luke Kuechly, he possesses that uncanny and wonderful athletic vision normal people can only dream about. It’s this machine-like ability to read a defense and make a snap decision, combined with a dynamic taste for improvisation, that makes Murphy such a scintillating quarterback.
Entering the insidious back end of BC’s season, Murphy’s recorded a run of at least 40 yards in six different games, the longest of which was a 71-yard dash against Maine. He’s rushed for nine touchdowns, thrown for eight, and both managed and sparked BC’s developing offensive system with a seemingly unflappable poise.
He’s become somewhat of a mythical figure—even when all is lost, there’s still hope that with a hand off-faking and stutter-stepping stroke of genius, Murphy will save the day.
“Here’s a guy that has got a chance to come in and lead a team, and be that quarterback, and be that leader, and make that play at the end to win that game,” Addazio said.
“What a story. All the crappy stories that are out there, that’s a great story. That’s a tremendous story, and it couldn’t happen to a better person.”
It’s tempting to go back to Addazio’s old quote from last winter and simply wonder—what could Murphy have done if he was at BC from the start? In four healthy years with this type of offense, it’s not a stretch to believe that ACC rushing records would crumble and his personal trophy collection would require an entire room.
Murphy came to BC in a year of tremendous transition and electrified his team. Addazio warned of the challenges enveloping year two countless times before the season began. Without a strong leader at quarterback this team could have tanked, but Murphy’s already made the most of his time in Chestnut Hill and shattered expectations nobody had.
With three regular season games and a bowl left to play in his collegiate career, BC’s about to find out how many miracles Murphy has left.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor