UCLA has been active in the graduate transfer market this offseason, and the team’s latest addition took an interesting route to Los Angeles.
Justin Murphy, an offensive lineman formerly of Texas Tech, announced Tuesday that he will continue his career with the Bruins.
Murphy made 12 starts during his time with the Red Raiders but has not played for quite a while. In fact, Murphy once announced he was retiring from the game altogether.
Upon learning he would need surgery to repair a second torn ACL to the same knee, Murphy announced in November 2016 that he would medically retire from the sport. Murphy, who was listed at 6-foot-6 and 298 pounds at TTU, also missed time with a shoulder ailment during his time in Lubbock.
Overall, he appeared in 14 games (12 starts) for the Red Raiders, making four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman in 2015 and eight starts — four at right guard and four at right tackle — in 2016.
In March, Murphy made it known that he planned to resume his career away from Texas Tech. He is on track to graduate from the school in May. Now that he has chosen UCLA, he will be immediately eligible to suit up for Chip Kelly’s squad in 2018.
Based on videos he has posted on social media, the knee and shoulder seem to be healthy.
I might have taken a year away, but that wasn't a year off. 585 lbs on deadlift, plenty more to come. pic.twitter.com/SfxHGXcu9A
— Justin Murphy (@JMurphy_73) March 10, 2018
Murphy, who visited UCLA earlier this month and also considered TCU, joins ex-Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight as graduates slated to join the UCLA roster. Speight, who announced a commitment to UCLA earlier in the month, was UM’s starting quarterback in 2016 and threw for 2,538 yards, 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 61.6 percent of his passes. He started the Wolverines’ first four games in 2017 before suffering a serious back injury against Purdue that kept him out the rest of the season.
Speight and Murphy will both compete for starting spots in the program’s first year with Kelly at the helm. With quarterback Josh Rosen and tackle Kolton Miller both moving on to the NFL, UCLA has big shoes to fill.
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