Former Free State High standout Ryan Murphy, a junior defensive back on the Kansas University football team, informed KU coach Turner Gill this week during individual meetings that he would not return for his senior season, instead electing to focus on academics and his future.
Gill announced the move at his season-ending news conference on Friday and, when reached by phone Friday evening, Murphy sounded upbeat about his decision.
“Oh yeah, it was definitely a tough decision,” the former Free State quarterback said. “I love football and football’s something that’s always been a part of my life. But I just felt like this was something I needed to do and this was the time to do it.”
Murphy’s meeting with Gill left no doubt about what his role with the team would be in the future and that’s when the 6-foot, 185-pound fourth-year junior decided to pull the trigger on stepping aside.
Murphy plans to walk down the hill in May and will finish his course work in the summer. After that, the American Studies major, with a minor in psychology, said he hoped to land an internship with a professional sports program nearby.
“I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to do yet,” Murphy said. “It’s all kind of happening really fast right now. I’m just trying to keep an open mind about everything.”
Despite his playing days being behind him, Murphy said he enjoyed every day of his four years at Kansas.
“I never live my life with any regret,” he said. “I’m happy I stuck with KU. I learned a lot of life lessons and made a lot of friends that I’ll probably have for life. There’s no bad feelings about the program at all. I’m still going to support KU until the day I die.”
After red-shirting during his freshman season in 2007, Murphy spent most of the next three seasons as a back-up defensive back and special teams player. He started two games at nickel back in 2009 and led the squad with two interceptions.
While this Murphy’s football career has come to a close, his twin brother, Brian, a wide receiver at Emporia State, still has one year of eligibility remaining. After coming to KU with his twin in 2007, Brian left for ESU in 2008.
This season, Brian appeared in nine games — two starts — as a receiver for the Hornets and also handled a good chunk of the team’s punt-return chores.
“He’s had a great career down there,” Ryan Murphy said. “And he still has one more year left.”