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Robert Murray, Leading By Example

By Barry Every
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Murray has been named First Team All-Region the past two seasons as well as being named to the Columbus Ledger All Bi-City Football Team.

Columbus (Ga.) Spencer Football has had unprecedented success on the gridiron the past three seasons under Coach Pierre Coffey. In his three-year stint at the helm he has led the Greenwave to a (19-15) record and three straight playoff appearances; something the school had failed to do the previous 21seasons. But in April it was announced that Coffey would be taking over as Principal at Baker Middle School.

In May, newly named offensive coordinator Justin Newman, was given the keys to the Greenwave Football program. One player He will be counting on heavily this fall is senior defensive lineman Robert Murray.

“We have a leadership council here at Spencer similar to what Coach Nick Saban has at Alabama and Murray is one of my three guys on that council,” Newman said. “He will be one of the students that shows incoming freshman and new students around the school. This is a young man that truly leads by example.”

Murray has been named First Team All-Region the past two seasons as well as being named to the Columbus Ledger All Bi-City Football Team. As a junior he racked up 84 tackles and eight sacks. His superior play on the field earned him an invite to the infamous Chick-fil-A Foundation Junior Bowl this past December. In that game Murray accrued two tackles, two TFL’s and one sack for team Commitment.

At this time the 6-foot-2, 260-pound hybrid defensive lineman holds scholarship offers from Alabama A&M, Charleston Southern, Jacksonville State, Tennessee -Chattanooga and Youngstown State. He is also receiving strong interest from Eastern Kentucky, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Memphis and Mercer.

“Two coaches that really stand out so far in my recruitment is Charleston Southern Coach Mike Adams and Youngstown State Coach Nic McKissic-Luke,” Murray said. “The relationship I’ve built with them is really strong. They continue to show me the love and they both do a great job of showing me what opportunities I have at their schools.”

This past spring/summer Murray camped at Kennesaw State, Memphis, Mercer and Troy. He hopes to hit at least one camp at Jacksonville State and make an unofficial visit to Charleston Southern prior the start of the season.

“This is a guy that shuts down his side of the field; I can see him playing the four or five-technique in a 3-4 defense or the three-technique in a four-man front,” Newman said. “He does not have any bad body weight and can easily play at 285-pounds one day. We can definitely be the team of Columbus with guys like Robert.”

Murray is a solid student and a true workout warrior in the weight room. He currently has a 2.7 GPA with a 960 on the SAT and hopes to take the ACT for the first time this fall. Murray boasts a massive 365-pound bench max to go along with a 475-pound back squat and 255-pound power clean.

Football is not the only sport that Murray excels at for the Greenwave, this past spring he took top honors in the shotput and discus at the Region 5-AA Championships. He additionally ran the hardwood floors as a power forward/center for a Spencer squad that finished (22-8).

What is it that Murray can do as a senior leader for his new head coach? Last year’s squad finished fourth in the region setting up the impossible task of battling eventual GHSA-AA State Champion Atlanta (Ga.) Hapeville Charter in the first round.

“I have to step up as a leader and help the underclassmen, especially helping the younger lineman reach their potential,” Murray said. “Being a better role player will be helpful. As an end I have to continue to keep contain and redirect plays to the inside and this is done by taking great angles and trusting my teammates.”

Obviously making the playoffs is paramount for the Greenwave, but it won’t be easy with the likes of Franklin (Ga.) Heard County and Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway in the same region. The pair combined for a (23-4) record in 2017. Then you have the addition of Bremen (Ga.) who is dropping down from GHSA-AAA, the Blue Devils finished last season with a (11-2) mark. All three opponents will be road games for Spencer this fall.

“I will have to work on getting off the ball quicker and using my hands more violently at the point of attack,” Murray said. “Basically I have to be quicker with my feet and more physical. You have to be at your best on every play and never let up when you face someone like Keiondre Jones of Callaway. That guy is a big body that can really move his feet and stay low.”

The most coveted body type in the recruiting world is strongside defensive ends that can also move inside, they simply don’t grow on trees. Murray fits this mold to a tee and it’s plausible his stock could catapult into double digit offers.

College recruiters can catch a glimpse of Murray’s ability September, 7 at Ellaville (Ga.) Schley County. This is an intriguing to matchup as the Wildcats have their own star power in Zykeivous Walker, the #1-ranked player in Southern Pigskin’s 2020 South Georgia Rankings.

Then there is the trip to Franklin, Georgia on September, 21, The Braves boast two-way standout Aaron Beasley, a Tennessee commit. The showdown that is nearest and dearest to Murray’s heart takes place October, 12 at Callaway. This will possibly be the biggest challenge he will face this season, going toe-to-toe with his old friend KJ.