Quantcast

Utah football: Jake Murphy's father is seeing red, and is OK with it

Published August 28, 2011 12:29 am

U. football • Ex-BYU and MLB star Dale Murphy watches his son Jake bloom as Ute.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Seeing his son make a diving catch isn't odd to Dale Murphy. After all, one would expect the son of an All-Star baseball outfielder to inherit some of his father's talent.

That Jake would make that diving catch in a football uniform and not a baseball one, well, that did take some adjustment, but the elder Murphy has accepted it.

Seeing Jake make that catch in a Utah uniform and not the blue of Dale Murphy's alma mater, BYU? Now that scene is something Dale still has trouble getting used to, no matter how many Utah football practices he watches.

"It's a little weird," he said.

The fat3her always imagined his son making great catches for BYU, the school where Dale met his wife, Nancy, and the one that is just a short distance from the family home in Utah County.

Never did they really think Jake, who starred at American Fork High School, would head around the Point of the Mountain to play college ball.

Here he is, though, in all of the Utah red glory. While his dad might still be learning his way around the Utah campus, Jake said he feels right at home.

"It's nothing against BYU, they didn't do anything wrong, but this is the best fit for me in any situation," he said.

Even so, Jake likely would be at BYU if it hadn't been for miscommunication between the family and the school. Jake, who signed with the Cougars in 2007, returned from a church mission last August, which was earlier than BYU had planned.

The school didn't have a scholarship available at the time and Utah did. The Utes welcomed Jake to the program as soon as he got off the plane.

"I flew home Aug. 29 and came straight here to watch practice," he said. "It was a tough decision because I have a lot of friends at BYU and who I grew up with in Utah County, but after it all came down to it, Utah just felt right."

Things are starting to feel better on the field for Jake, too, where he is listed as the backup tight end behind junior Kendrick Moeai.

However, in the system that offensive coordinator Norm Chow has installed, Jake will be more like an H-back with a variety of roles in the passing schemes than just a traditional tight end.

Jake, who also played safety and baseball in high school, likes the variety but said the learning curve is steeper because of it.

"I'm definitely not where I know I can be," he said. "But I am getting it. I feel like a rookie and I am soaking it all in and learning all I can. It's definitely a transition, but I told the coaches where I need to go I will go to help the team."

Jake thought about pursuing baseball, his first passion, but decided football was the way for him to go as he grew bigger and bigger.

Now 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Murphy has just the kind of frame the Utes want to utilize in Chow's system.

"He is big and he has a really good football IQ," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "He is going to help us this year."

As for the elder Murphy, he was OK with Jake focusing on football. Jake's older brother, Shawn, played football at Utah State and with eight kids altogether, Dale and Nancy are accustomed to their children delving into a variety of hobbies.

"With all our kids we have tried to figure out what they like to do and where they gravitate to, we just want them to be happy wherever they are," he said.

Apparently, that outlook goes for playing in red, too.

lwodraska@sltrib.com

Jake Murphy file

• Utah tight end/fullback

• 6-foot-4, 255 pounds

• Freshman from American Fork High School