The Backstory: The trend of breaking down lineman continues, but this lineman ranks among the best in ASU history. He helped the Sun Devil football program reach new heights, and was the heart of some great teams. The Southern, California product also played on the defensive line, and excelled there also. Number 56 in our Sun Devil Legend Series is Kyle Murphy.
The Player: Kyle Murphy (1994-1997) The normal transition into college consists of figuring out how to live independently, where to eat, time management and more. On top of the countless responsibilities, Kyle Murphy jumped in and started at center and right guard during his freshman season. During the '94 campaign, the team went 3-8 and it was tough to be optimistic. Looking ahead, Murphy's ASU tenure coincided with some of the most memorable times in school history for football.
The 1996 season still gets talked about in Tempe, as Bruce Snyder's team went 11-1. In particular, defeating the powerhouse Nebraska Cornhuskers 19-0 still resonates. Despite the amazement of beating the nations #1 ranked squad, Murphy believed the victory over the Corn Huskers wasn't the most important triumph, per Devils Digest.
"The Nebraska game was special because we shut them out," Murphy stated, "but I don't think we knew what we really had until we came back to beat UCLA and beat USC in overtime. That's when we knew we had an opportunity to do something rare."
Behind the arm of Jake Plummer, the possibilities were endless. However, the Plummer domination and era wouldn't have taken place without Murphy's reliable play. The '96 year ended in disappointing fashion, with ASU losing to Ohio State 20-17 in the Rose Bowl.
Conversely, the personal accomplishments for Murphy were just beginning. According to the ASU Athletic website: "Cozzetto's offense lead the Pac-10 in rushing (193.8 ypg) and was fourth in total offense (406.5 ypg). Offensive lineman Kyle Murphy and Grey Ruegamer were first-team all-Pac 10 while Murphy was a Third-Team All-American by The Football News and Associated Press."
Running back Terry Battle set career marks, thanks to the outstanding help up front from guys like Murphy. Linemen aren't often known for athleticism, but Murphy possessed the unique trait, showcased by his ability to play on both sides of the ball.
In the Pros: In spite of being mentioned among the most talented lineman in college football, Murphy didn't get drafted. Fortunately, the Oakland Raiders granted Murphy an opportunity as an undrafted free agent.
Farrington Togiai - Togaiai doesn't only have the coolest last name around, he also used brute strength via a large 6'0 tall, 330 pound frame to bully opponents.