By Larry Lamb
Lamar University landed a big man to bolster its offensive line with the signing of Lovelady senior Carter Murray during a ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the LHS gym.
Murray was one of five offensive linemen Lamar signed to National Letters of Intent on Early Signing Day.
The 6-3, 290-pound tackle was a four-year starter for the Lions on both sides of the ball.
Kilgore College, Sam Houston State and Rice University also had their eyes on Murray. “None were as interested in me as Lamar. They kept in contact with me, their coaches are really good and the facilities are nice. I just liked everything about it,” he explained.
“A whole new coaching staff came in last December. Coach (Dane) Morgan was previously at San Diego State and always had a good record there, so I feel like it’s going to be a good ride,” said the future Cardinal. “I’m excited about what’s next.”
Carter, son of David and Michelle Murray, hasn’t decided on a major. “I plan to get the basics done first and then decide on what I’ll major in,” he said.
Murray’s senior football season was cut short by meniscus surgery which sidelined him after the regular season. “I missed the two playoff games because if I had waited and not had the surgery I wouldn’t have been ready for baseball,” said Murray, who is a standout player for the Lions baseball team. “I’m ready for baseball.”
“I really grew up playing baseball but football kind of just fell into me. I knew I could go to the next level and play football, so I started to take that seriously and work hard at it,” he continued.
Murray said the most memorable football game was his during freshman season when the Lions defeated Alto 22-20 in bi-district. “Being a freshman starter in my first playoff game made it special and it was probably the best game that we’ve ever played as a team. The atmosphere was amazing. There’s no other feeling like that.”
Lovelady athletic director/head football coach Will Kirchhoff said, “He’s an exceptional young man, a great football player and an even better person.”
The coach continued, “I’ve watched him grow from freshman year all the way to where he is now so I feel like he’s one of my own. He’s going to carry all the things I’ve seen him grow into and keep growing in the next level, so we’re really excited about seeing where he’s going.”
In addition to Murray’s obvious physical changes, Kirchhoff noted, “His biggest change has been the mentality and the leadership that he brings to the table. Every single play is important to him on both sides of the football. He’s had such an impact on our program in changing the way that we play football, which is physical hard-nose offense running the football down your throat. He’s been a big piece of that puzzle. Basing your offense around a right tackle is rare but when you’ve got one as good as Carter it’s something that you can do.”
As a junior Murray received honorable mention All-East Texas and All-State. At the Texas Top 100 combine last year, Murray was named as the top five offensive linemen in Classes 1A through 6A.
Murray was District 11-2A DII Lineman of the Year this past season and is a likely to be a repeat as All-State honoree when the 2020 selections are announced.
“Carter was one of those kids that everyone in the district always asked me whether he’s graduated yet because he’s dominated this district for the last four years on both sides of the ball. I hate to see him go but I’m excited to see where he’s going. If he carries that Lovelady work ethic to the next level he’ll do just fine,” said Kirchhoff.
“To be as successful as he has been is just a testament to his character and all the work that he’s put in because year after year he just keeps getting better,” added Kirchhoff.
Murray has played every position on the offensive line.
“That’s a testament to how high his football IQ is and that’s his big attribute. No matter where you plug him in he understands the big picture and can handle those jobs. That’s a huge thing that Lamar’s going to get out of him. No matter where they put him he’s going to be able to execute at a high level and he’s going to understand exactly what’s going on,” said Kirchhoff.
“Lamar noticed on film how he picks up different schemes, no matter what defenses throw at him. He not only can get his job done but he can make sure everyone on the O-line is in their right place and he does a great job directing those guys. But for football IQ and physicality, Lamar got a gem I assure you,” summed up Kirchhoff.