COLUMBIA CITY — Nearly every kid that ever plays football in a backyard or vacant lot dreams of making it to the National Football League.

They start out in flag football and work their way up to put on pads and play in middle school. The transfer to high school is tougher and the select few have the opportunity to play at the college level.

The best of the best receive the rare chance to step on to the field for an NFL team and play on Sundays. Former Columbia City High School wide receiver is closing in on his dream of playing in the NFL.

Murphy graduated from Columbia City and went on to a career at the University of Miami of Ohio. From 2014 through this past fall, Murphy appeared in every game, all four years, including nine starts in the 2017 season. In his career at Miami, Murphy tallied 158 receptions for 2,083 yards and 13 touchdowns. As a senior, Murphy was awarded the Redhawk’s Offensive Skill Player of the Year award.

With his college career over, Murphy has his sights set on the next phase of his playing days. In order to make it to the NFL, Murphy is keeping his sights set firmly on his next task.

March 27 is the University of Miami Pro Day, where Murphy and other Redhawks will get to work out for NFL scouts and personnel directors.

“Right now, my only focus is to control what I can control by performing well at pro day,” said Murphy. “I’m very confident in how I will test and how my testing numbers will match up with the other prospects in the 2018 draft.”

The NFL is typically a league in which teams copy the success of each other. Right now, the most successful wide receivers in the league are smaller receivers who can get in and out of routes quickly. Pass catchers like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola for the New England Patriots have created a niche for players like Murphy to step in and make an immediate impact in the league.

Murphy graduated from Miami in December. Now, his time is spent working with AWP Sports to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft in April. Players who go undrafted are then invited to training camps by teams who believe their skill set might give them the opportunity to make the 53-man active roster. Murphy said he has heard some feedback from teams who are interested in bringing him in as an undrafted free agent if he doesn’t get his name called at the draft.

“I just hope to fulfill my life-long dream and get an opportunity to go play in the NFL,” said Murphy.

Murphy’s name is still written all throughout the Columbia City High School record book. He holds the record for the most receptions in one season with 57. Murphy also holds the record for most receiving yards in a season (732) and in a career (1,363) while scoring 12 touchdowns on receptions.

As an undersized receiver, Murphy knows the road to the NFL won’t be easy. But players like Murphy have made it before in the NFL and as quick, smart receivers are now the trend in the league, more teams are in search of players just like Murphy. That bodes well for the former Columbia City receiver as he closes in on his dream of playing on Sundays in the National Football League.