Over the past few years the Oregon Ducks have made a point of recruiting tall defensive linemen.

NFL first round draft picks Dion Jordan (6-foot-6 defensive end) and 6-foot-7 defensive end Arik Armstead, as well as likely future first-round pick and 6-foot-7 defensive end DeForest Buckner have established a clear prototype that defensive line coach Ron Aiken covets. 

The latest target that fits the bill is defensive lineman/outside linebacker Connor Murphy, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound four-star prospect out of Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Arizona).

On Monday evening, Murphy made it clear that interest was mutual, listing Oregon in his top five, along with Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan and USC:

The Ducks’ inclusion in a list of finalists became likely after Murphy’s visit to Eugene in November. 

“It was a great trip, crazy experience,” he told The Oregonian. “I went on the official visit to spend time the team and that’s exactly what happened. We all connected together instantly and hit it off. Even walking around all of the fans already seemed to know who I was.”

However, the recent loss of linebacker coach Erik Chinander was a small blow to that recruiting effort.

“It’s a bummer Coach Chinander is leaving,” he said. “He was my guy and we had some big plans.”

Regardless of Chiander’s move, Michigan has long been considered the favorite, as Murphy’s family is close with Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, stemming from the recruitment of his brother, Trent, to Stanford.

During an in-home visit, Harbaugh took on babysitting responsibilities of young Connor when his mother, Laurie, went into labor.

“I’m sure you’ve heard about Harbaugh babysitting me way back. My dad and Harbaugh, they always hit it off. Harbaugh was our family, we love the Harbaugh family. We’re close friends with the Harbaughs, and that goes way back,” Murphy explained. “But there’s other schools, like USC, obviously Michigan, Arizona State, (Arizona)… I’ve been talking to the Alabama outside linebacker coach. I’ve been talking to (defensive line/recruiting coordinator) Angus McClure over at UCLA. I’ve been talking to a lot of schools right now… just trying to get a feel for everything.”

Oregon is in the top five for Murphy. Finishing first, however, may turn out to be a much taller task.

— Andrew Nemec

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