Just two days after being granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, offensive lineman Justin Murphy surprised UCLA football fans as he announced he was transferring.
It is a bit of an understatement to say that Justin Murphy’s announcement to transfer from the UCLA football program is a surprise, especially after being granted a sixth year of eligibility.
This year, the Bruins’ offensive line made enormous strides under OL coach (and now Offensive Coordinator) Justin Frye. The Bruins were one of the worst run teams the last two years, but in one season, they have been able to piece together a functioning O-line which Murphy was a part of, though partially.
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Murphy had played in the first few games of the season but injured his knee in the final quarter of the 4th game of the season against Colorado. Shortly after, he had surgery after that game and it was uncertain if he would return later that season.
To the surprise of many, he was back on the field helping the Bruins against USC and Stanford in the last two games of the season.
With the NCAA granting him a sixth year, that would mean that the Bruins were returning six starters and 11 total that played in 2018. That is no longer the case.
Though UCLA can sustain this loss (their talent and depth will still increase heading into 2019), staying would have greatly benefitted the Bruins. In recent seasons, the Bruins have had issues with depth as they would lose OLs to injury. Aside from Murphy, UCLA was lucky to keep so many players healthy as the season progressed. That is not guaranteed heading into 2019.
It is unknown why Murphy decided to transfer, though it might have to do with playing time. Not only do the Bruins return several players, but they will potentially bringing in three in the next recruiting class.
It is unknown why Murphy decided to transfer. In his statement which he posted on Twitter, he simply states “moving forward, I will be transferring to another university to finish out the last year of my college football career.” This past season was Murphy’s first with UCLA as he transferred in as a graduate before 2018 after a stint at Texas Tech.