Tyler Murphy is seeking a master's degree in administrative studies at Boston College. He wants to be a coach or an athletic director one day. The quarterback's role this past year with the Eagles has been, in some ways, on-the-job training.
Since enrolling in classes at BC this past January, Murphy has proven to be a quick study, as adept at winning over a group as he is at running past defenders. The Florida transfer has the upstart Eagles bowl-bound for a second straight season under coach Steve Addazio.
Two weeks ago, Murphy broke Doug Flutie's program record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (939), needing all of nine games. Against Louisville on Saturday, he became the ACC's first 1,000-yard rusher at quarterback in five years, since Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt rushed for 1,037 yards for the 2009 league champs. A career-worst four-pick night in the loss took some of the luster off the milestone, but as BC enters its final bye week with two regular-season games remaining, it has become increasingly clear that no program landed a bigger coup on the transfer wire this offseason.
"It's been everything I expected and more," Murphy said of BC. "It's a decision I'm very happy with. I'm having a blast, and it's just fun to just go out with these guys that just care, that really just want to not let the team down.
"It's fun, but it also stinks because it goes so fast."
Murphy has always thought of himself as a people's person. He has little desire to sit behind a desk for a living. Recruited to Florida by Addazio, then the Gators' offensive coordinator, Murphy found he had an affinity for the coaching profession during his four years in Gainesville. He loved football, he loved breaking down schemes with others and he loved to game plan.
His short time in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, has stoked that passion even further, and he regularly chats about the nuances of the job with Addazio and offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who have told him they will write him recommendations whenever he starts job hunting.
"Certainly if he wants to become a coach, he would have a great opportunity with us because I just like people that have that kind of mindset, that kind of attitude, love of the game," Addazio said, later adding, "Probably having been around so many coordinators, in a different kind of a way, has probably helped him how to learn offenses and adjust. Might not be easy to play in that situation, but certainly can help you in terms of your exposure. I think his age, his maturity, his intelligence really helps him in his preparation."
Murphy has played his part in commanding a locker room, looking and acting nothing like the one-year rental so many graduate transfers often are.
Upon his arrival 11 months ago, the redshirt senior baked cookies for his offensive linemen. He helped organize throwing sessions with receivers. He opened up more than he ever had, studied film more than he ever had, all in the hope of gaining the trust of a group he would have to lead, one that had already spent years together without him.
"As soon as he came here, he hit the ground running," center and captain Andy Gallik said.
"He really did it pretty quickly," athletic director Brad Bates said. "It's really symbolic of the depth of his character, to be able to come in here and be able to do that, (at) the key position on the offense, doing it in a very quick period of time. I think it's also a testament to his respect of Steve Addazio."
Bates was floored by Murphy's attitude toward the opportunity, saying that most players in his situation do the bare minimum academically as they ready for one last playing shot at the college level. Murphy, who earned a telecommunications degree from Florida, said he is currently taking three classes and will complete his degree requirements by year's end, before coming back for commencement in May. (BC has only one graduation ceremony each year.)
In the meantime, Murphy is hoping to make the most of his limited time left at BC. A date at defending national champion Florida State awaits next week, followed by senior day against rival Syracuse, before the Eagles' bowl. He has tallied four 100-yard rushing games so far, which are four more than any BC signal-caller before him. His 1,006 rushing yards are far and away the most nationally by a quarterback so far this season, and he is 56 yards away from breaking the ACC record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a season, set by Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler in 2001.
It has all flown by so quickly, yes, but Murphy has made a habit of doing more with less, and he is not planning on slowing down just yet.
"I want to be around football, but just being at BC has really allowed me to understand what it's like to build a good community and just how to build a culture as a program and do things the right way," Murphy said. "That's something I'm really observing and just learning from Coach Addazio and Brad Bates. They're both outstanding people. They've done a great job with the athletic programs here. Hopefully I can be in their shoes one day and be able to help a program move forward like they are."