O.J. Murdock: Stories from the archives
We're continuing to cover the death of NFL receiver and ex-Middleton standout O.J. Murdock in an apparent suicide. Here are a few stories on Murdock from our archives:
* As a sophomore in 2003, he was already wowing reporters with his speed at his first big high school track meet: "Hoots and hollers are already thundering through the bleachers when O.J. Murdock runs, because man oh man, can this kid ever run."
* Seven years ago, our Ernest Hooper wrote about Murdock and a counselor that helped turn his life around. An excerpt:
Joe Troupe calls them the silent years.
Troupe, a counselor for the Youth Opportunity Movement, has heard all the accolades about Middleton High graduate O.J. Murdock.
In fact, just about every local sports fan is familiar with Murdock. He helped his football team reach the regional finals, earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina and won the 100- and 200-meter races at the Class 3A state championships.
But Troupe, whose program is part of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, knows no one would be talking about the high school standout if Murdock hadn't survived the silent years.
* Before signing with South Carolina in 2005, he tossed and turned and watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Here's the National Signing Day story from his tumultous recruiting process.
* And in 2005, he was named the Times' male track athlete of the year after claiming two Class 3A state titles.