CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Sometimes, the fit is just right.
Have you ever met someone who was just perfectly suited to his or her environment? Who had the exact right skill set and temperament to do what they were doing, where and when and with whom they were doing it?
Talk to just about anyone around the football program in Chestnut Hill these days, and it quickly becomes clear that’s Tyler Murphy and Boston College.
”Tyler Murphy has made a huge difference,” associate athletic director for football relations Barry Gallup said. “He’s been unbelievable. He’s exceeded everyone’s expectations. He’s come in and done so many little things.”
Things like seeking out teammates to work out with during the summer, sitting with younger players during meals and always responding quickly to messages -- no matter what he has going on at the time.
Gallup has been around BC football a long time; he's now in his fourth decade with the program in some capacity. He says he’s seen a lot of good kids come through the Eagles program, including star quarterbacks such as Tim Hasselbeck, Matt Hasselbeck and Matt Ryan.
But in all his years at BC, he’s never seen anything like Murphy.
The fifth-year graduate student, who transferred to BC after getting his degree from Florida, won the William J. Flynn Award as the team’s most valuable player, certainly no big surprise. After receiving the award at the team’s banquet, Murphy went to Gallup with a request that went something like this:
“Can I ask you a favor?” he said.
“Sure, Tyler, what is it?” Gallup responded.
“Can you give me an email address so I can send a thank-you note?” Murphy said.
Gallup was floored -- he’d never gotten a request like that before. “They said that’s the first time in 20 years anyone’s ever sent a thank-you note,” he said.
Stories like that about Murphy are a dime a dozen. Athletic director Brad Bates has one too.
Early in the season, the team held a luncheon to bring together some of the players and the alumni who had endowed their scholarships. Bates went up to Murphy during the event and asked him a question.
“I just asked him what was different about Boston College and his experience here,” Bates said. “He looked around the room and said ‘This, the engagement with alums. It’s really such a family here.’
“It was particularly meaningful to me how he articulated that.”
Murphy also has had little trouble expressing himself on the field. He set an ACC rushing record for a quarterback with 1,079 yards (and 10 TDs), shattering the BC single-season and career records along the way. He’s also thrown for 1,526 yards and 11 TDs, offsetting 10 interceptions.
He’s been a star -- the right player in the right place at the right time.
But it took a long time for him to get here. Lightly recruited as a junior in high school in Wethersfield, Connecticut, Murphy started working with QB coach Travis Meyer in hopes of improving his game enough to attract more attention.
The pair worked to improve Murphy’s throwing mechanics, and Meyer put together a film reel to win over skeptical coaches.
“There are a couple of reasons,” Meyer said of the lack of recruiting interest in Murphy. “Being in Connecticut, it’s partially because of the state. Connecticut is not a hotbed for football and especially for quarterbacks.
“I think the perception is that the level of talent he was playing against wasn’t as great as other states. The line of thinking was he might look great on film, but he’s playing against subpar athletes.”
He drew some interest from home-state school UConn, as well as Temple and a few others.
“I know Fordham was trying to get him,” Meyer said. “They loved him, they thought he was extremely talented. I remember talking to the coaches once or twice, they never said it, but I had a feeling that if they could get him they felt they were getting a steal because he was being overlooked.”
The offseason of work helped drum up more interest.
“His junior film was OK, but it wasn’t anything like you saw in his senior film,” Meyer said. “There was vast improvement, as a quarterback but also as an athlete. He flourished.”
Murphy committed to Al Golden and Temple, but then Meyer connected him with two coaches he knew at Florida -- Scot Loeffler and Steve Addazio.
Addazio -- then the Gators’ offensive coordinator -- is a Farmington, Connecticut, native and happened to go to high school with Murphy’s aunt. So the coach and the quarterback bonded, Florida offered him a scholarship and Murphy jumped at the chance.
“I don’t know, who knows where I would have been?” Murphy said, when asked where he might have ended up without Meyer’s help. “I’m just happy that he was there on my side to help me out and I tell him that all the time. I thank him all the time for that.”
Even though the on-field experience at Florida -- which involved more bench time than playing time, and ended with a shoulder injury derailing his shot at the starting job -- didn’t work out exactly as he’d hoped.
“It was tough for him to deal with, I think,” Meyer said. “But I think anytime I talked to him, I almost felt like I was more upset for him than he seemed to be. Because I felt like he should have been playing.
“He took a big risk going down there, I helped him go down there. He always had spirits up about it, but at the same time wasn’t going to settle for not playing.”
Now that he’s reunited with Addazio and just an hour and change away from home, Murphy is making the most of his last go-round.
He goes home whenever he can, visiting family and sometimes stopping in at Wethersfield High to see his former coaches and speak to the players there now.
“I just told them to keep working hard and that everybody in the town is proud of them,” he said of a recent pep talk. “Just keep doing what they’re doing and just have fun and enjoy it, because you look back and sometimes you wish you could be back in high school, putting on a high school jersey and wearing it around the school hallways.”
Soon, Murphy may feel the same way about wearing his college jersey. He’ll don the maroon and gold one final time when the Eagles play Penn State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27 (4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
The fact he’ll be playing his final college game just a few miles from Fordham, one of the first schools to really want him, is fitting. It’s also something Murphy is not spending a lot of time thinking about.
After all, he’s already found the right place for him. Now he’s just trying to get everything he can from the experience.
“It kind of really hasn’t hit me yet that it’s my last college game,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to trying to make the best of it and just approach it like any other big game. Just take care of the ball, just execute and have fun.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.