TAMPA – All that 7 year old Garrett Murray wanted to do was play quarterback like his father.
Murray says he was mad that at the time that his father made him play center and long snapper instead of quarterback. But now, he thanks his father because center and long snapper is where his future is going to be.
Being bigger and stronger than most kids his age, Murray certainly stood out during the early stages of football.
Fast forward to high school and the 2018 Plant center/long snapper is entering his third varsity season and second as a full-time starter. Murray is a 6’0″, 250-pounder who initially earned the call up to varsity as a sophomore.
He says when he made the move varsity was when he discovered his confidence.
The hard work and training has clearly paid off as Murray was recently ranked the No. 1 snapper in Florida and No. 36 in the country by Kohl’s Professional Camps.
This past season, Murray was the starting center and long snapper for a Plant group that posted a 13-1 record. The lone loss came in the Class 7A state title against powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas.
He called the state championship experience at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium something truly awesome.
“No one thought we would make that far and it was great to prove a lot of people wrong,” Murray told Prep Sports Scouting. “As a junior, it was a great experience to play next to seniors like Jack Raney and Bryce Jenkins. All the other seniors are going onto play for top schools and it was great to play with a top tier program.”
Murray gets to play for a true leader in head coach Robert Weiner. Entering his 14th year at Plant, Weiner has led the Panthers to four state championships (2006, 2008, 2009, 2011). He called learning from Weiner something “different.”
“It is hard to explain how much time and effort he [Weiner] puts into this football team. He knows that if he puts in the effort, his kids are going to give back to him,” Murray said. “That’s one of the reasons we are so good. All of the kids on our team respect him enough to know if we buy in that we’ll do something special as a team.”
On a Friday night in Tampa Bay, it is hard to point to a more rowdy football stadium than Dad’s Stadium. Murray loves everything about the home field advantage Plant has.
“There’s nothing else like Dad’s Stadium,” he said. “When you get out on the field and the way it is setup with the stands close, the band going and fans roaring, are opponents have trouble handling that.”
No offers have come yet, but he’s drawn some interest from a few Division III programs. Murray says he’s pursuing a Division I long snapper spot.
In terms of his biggest strengths at the two positions, he said this.
“As a center, just knowing the snap is going to be there every time.”
“As a long snapper, my size I can get there pretty quick with my strength and power. I have the ability to get downfield and tackle returners.”
He’s aiming to improve his overall speed this season.
Murray’s end goals with football are simple.
“Big picture, I’d love to snap four years in college,” he said. “I’m thinking about going into engineering or a business finance degree.”
Long snapping is the route Murray wants to pursue to make a college roster. For now, he’s a crucial part of the Panthers offensive line group as the starting center. Long snapping is a key in special teams and goes unnoticed. So the double duty that Murray is pulling is rather admirable.
Favorite players to watch – Justin Pugh, Su’a Cravens
Playlist before games – Lil’ Uzi Vert, Eminem
Favorite movies – Top Gun, Sixteen Candles, Dirty Dancing
Favorite TV shows – Big Brother, Survivor
Fun fact that you think nobody knows – “A lot of people don’t know that growing up in California, I know how to surf.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “G”
Game film: Murray’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the founder of Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.