Maalik Murphy, QB
The most important freshman that will get starts down the stretch this season for the Longhorns is, hands down, second-year quarterback Maalik Murphy. The towering 6-foot-5 and 240-pound redshirt freshman signal-caller is expected to get his first career start this weekend against BYU while Ewers is recovering from a shoulder injury, according to ESPN.
Murphy led two drives for the Longhorns in the win over Houston last weekend after Ewers left the game with the aforementioned shoulder injury. The first drive Murphy led resulted in a three-and-out after he missed a pass outside the hashes to junior wide receiver Adonai Mitchell. Murphy threw the pass a little bit behind Mitchell, leading to the incompletion.
But Murphy was composed, leading the Longhorns on a drive to score the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. True freshman running back CJ Baxter Jr. punched the ball in on a 16-yard rushing touchdown to give the Longhorns the 31-24 lead. After the defense held near its own end zone on the last offensive drive of the game for Houston, the Longhorns sealed the 31-24 win.
Moreover, while Murphy has taken live-game snaps on offense in multiple matchups this season, he’s only attempted a handful of passes. He’s completed 4-of-8 passing attempts for 47 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions this season.
Those live-game reps were still valuable, though, for the second-year quarterback from California. Murphy showed off his insane arm strength and refined technique that allows him to get the ball out faster with a quicker release in the three games he’s attempted a pass this fall, along with the spring game back in mid-April.
Sark expressed confidence in Murphy in his Monday press conference on Oct. 23. He said “there is not a throw that [Murphy] cannot make” and that he has “really good leadership qualities”.
In his Monday press conference, Sark said Murphy would be the starter if Texas played BYU that day. He also mentioned that Murphy and true freshman quarterback Arch Manning will both get first-team reps at quarterback in practice heading into the BYU game this week.