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Stanford sack master Murphy oozes athleticism

Stanford’s Trent Murphy, who led I-A with 15 sacks, tries to get around Michigan State’s Jack Conklin during the Rose Bowl.

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Stanford’s Trent Murphy, who led I-A with 15 sacks, tries to get around Michigan State’s Jack Conklin during the Rose Bowl.

MOBILE, Ala. — One of the NFL draft's most freakish prospects is Stanford's Trent Murphy, who led Division I-A in sacks playing outside linebacker but is getting looks at defensive end due to the athleticism he packs into a 6-foot-6, 255-pound frame.

"I'm sure not many 6-6 guys can grab their toes or do a pistol squat all the way to the ground on a single leg," he said this week while working out at the Senior Bowl. "Being able to bend like that and be so long, it gives me some extra tools."

The pistol squat involves standing with one leg out and keeping it straight while lowering your body, bending the other leg completely, then raising your body back up.

If that doesn't impress you, Murphy got a proud text from his father this week, telling him at the game's official measurements Monday that he showed up with the largest hands out of 100-plus players, 10⅞ inches from tip of the pinkie to tip of the thumb, more than 2 inches larger than some of the other defensive ends.

"It's hilarious how much I love having these little stats like this. I was pretty stoked to have the biggest hands here," said Murphy, who listed the Bucs among the teams he has talked with this week. "It's just below having the most sacks."

Murphy finished with 22½ sacks at Stanford, and he's projected to go in the top two rounds in May's draft.

This week is about impressing scouts and coaches in interviews as much as practices. And when asked how he sells himself as a player, he said, "Between really good character, on and off the field, athletic ability, you have a very dynamic player. Add a little hard work and toughness and you're getting a pretty solid deal."

Stanford runs much the same defense as the 49ers, and Murphy said he enjoys watching San Francisco's outside linebackers rush the passer.

They include 6-4, 265-pound Aldon Smith, who made the opposite transition, from college lineman to NFL linebacker.

Hearing critics who question if he should be a high draft pick only serves as motivation as doubters did throughout his college career.

"I definitely love playing with a chip on my shoulder," Smith said. "Playing at Stanford, it's just kind of who we are as a personality. We play loose, focused, with a chip on my shoulder, we always say."

THIS AND THAT: Former Bucs quarterbacks coach John McNulty has landed with the Titans in the same job. He reunites with coach Ken Whisenhunt, who had him on his Arizona staff from 2009-12. Whisenhunt said he liked the progress McNulty got from rookie Mike Glennon this season. "For him to go to Tampa Bay and work with their young quarterback, making Glennon a better player and helping him perform at a high level for a rookie, that's exciting," he said. … Most Bucs assistant coaches had left Mobile by Wednesday, but director of player personnel Dennis Hickey remained. He has interviewed for the Dolphins general manager job but isn't sure of his future with the Bucs as new GM Jason Licht will decide how he builds his front office.

Stanford sack master Murphy oozes athleticism 01/22/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 10:33pm]

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