While UCLA had yesterday off as a recovery day, the team did practice on Tuesday and some interesting visitors were in attendance. UCLA donor Casey Wasserman and representatives from Under Armour “were on campus, watching practice from the sideline,” according to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.
Meanwhile, the only post-practice interview was with graduate transfer offensive lineman Justin Murphy.
Murphy transferred to UCLA for this season after graduating from Texas Tech. He has not played, however, since the 2016 season because of a series of knee injuries.
“After that second injury, my doctor had told me...he goes ‘If you don’t plan on making a football career I think you should retire’,” Murphy said. “And, so at the time, I had one injury after another. So, I thought I was done with football.”
Murphy actually started selling real estate in Lubbock after medically retiring at Texas Tech. While he enjoyed it, he kept working out before deciding to come back.
“But, after being out of the game and, then, seeing how my knee kind of reacted to the kind of strain of football and it really brought me back,” he continued.
“We’ve got the green light from every doctor I’ve seen and they were really happy with how the knee’s holding up, especially through the pounding of Fall Camp and going day in and day out. So, the doctors have green-lighted me and we’re ready to go.”
Murphy also spoke about what it’s like to be playing football again. He said:
After taking a year away from the game, that kind of really humbles you, too, and brings out that hunger in you. You miss the game. For me, the game’s been such a big part of my life that, to be out here at such a great program, it’s a really a phenomenal experience and I can’t wait to get the season started.
Murphy ended up at UCLA largely because of his connection to Bruin running backs coach DeShaun Foster who spent a year coaching the backs at Texas Tech. But, Murphy also credits offensive line coach Justin Frye for making him want to come to Westwood.
“Whenever I opened up that recruiting process, I reached out to [Coach Foster] and we kind of got that ball rolling and then I talked to Coach Frye and we’re here now,” Murphy said.
“With Coach Frye being such a great coach and being so technically sound, I feel like that could raise my talent level to hopefully go on to the next level.”
As far as the future, Murphy seems to be attracted to the idea of working in real estate in California because “the commissions out here are a lot higher,” but, for now, he’s put the real estate career on hold while he pursues a graduate degree in education, which he sees as a way to prepare for a leadership role while learning how to educate his future employees.
He certainly seems to have his post-football career planned out pretty well. That’s, for sure.
Here’s Justin Murphy’s complete interview. Thanks to Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online for sharing the video with us.