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ASU Football: 4-star DE Connor Murphy rejects ASU, chooses USC

Murphy is the second top-rated Arizona prospect to choose an out-of-state program in as many weeks.

Distinguishing oneself from a talented group of siblings and forging a separate legacy can appear to be challenging.

Four-star defensive end Connor Murphy announced he will be joining the USC Trojans on Wednesday morning, before officially signing his national letter of intent at Brophy College Preparatory later in the afternoon.

"It's definitely a lot of weight off my shoulders," Murphy said. "It's been a stressful process, but at the same time it was a lot of fun."

Murphy is listed as a 6-foot-7, 250-pound defensive end by He is ranked as the No. 1 prospect at the position in Arizona and No. 27 nationally.

Over three seasons, Murphy logged 111 tackles, including 72 solo tackles and 3.5 sacks, according to

Murphy was highly-regarded recruit. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh notoriously slept over at his house to hang out and watch movies as a part of a recruitment pitch.

Despite that effort by Harbaugh, Murphy declined the offer to play for the Michigan Wolverines, along with rejecting the Arizona State Sun Devils, Alabama Crimson Tide and Oregon Ducks -- the other four schools in his top five.

Murphy joins Washington-bound cornerback Byron Murphy as the second top-Arizonan recruit in as many weeks to spurn the Sun Devils in favor of an out-of-state program.

Connor admitted it wasn't easy turning down an opportunity to play so close to home.

"That was real hard," he said. "But, at the end of the day, I feel I made the right decision."

Since 2010, only two Brophy alumni -- kicker Alex Garoutte (2010) and wide receiver Fred Gammage (2012) -- have chosen to become members of ASU football.

Brophy athletic director Bill Wood, an ASU graduate, said he was happy for Murphy and his decision, despite choosing USC over his alma mater.

"As an ASU grad, I never once said to him ‘you should go do that,'" he said. "Sometimes you have to let the process happen."

Murphy's family was in full support of his choice. Despite having attended ASU to play basketball herself, Murphy's sister, Kayli, said she thinks he made the right decision.

"Having gone through college athletics myself, and then watching Trent at Stanford, I'm really excited for Connor to pave his own path," she said. "He picked his own school, and he really thought out the decision."

Their father, Jerry, spoke out of admiration of his youngest son as he begins to embark on what's now a familiar journey.

"We're proud of Connor and hope he goes on to have a great career at USC," he said. "For a dad to have three kids go and play Division I, it's huge. I'm very proud."

The third of the Murphy trio to reach the Division I level is Trent, who played football at Stanford and currently plays in the NFL.

"His brother was a consistent All-American," Jerry said. "Connor has a long way to go of course, but it's exciting. Especially in seeing Connor look to out-do his brother's footsteps."

Kayli said the three didn't intentionally plan on going to separate schools.

"You have to do what's best for yourself," she said. "He obviously took in all of our advice, but when it really comes down to it, I think USC is going to be what's best for his career."

Murphy's career at USC will start this fall in Clay Helton's first full season as head coach.