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Texas QB Maalik Murphy intends to enter the NCAA transfer portal

With the possibility of Quinn Ewers returning, there’s pressure on Murphy to make a decision about his future.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Football Championship-Oklahoma State at Texas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Longhorns redshirt freshman quarterback Maalik Murphy intends to enter the NCAA transfer portal, according to a Wednesday report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

Murphy told ESPN he will not be with the team throughout the College Football Playoffs.

If there’s been one constant throughout the relationship between Murphy and Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian, it’s been a level of mutual respect for the two California products.

Less than six weeks after Sarkisian was hired at Texas, Murphy committed to the Longhorns over 30 other offers from some of the top programs nationally, eventually ending the cycle as the No. 179 prospect overall and the No. 12 quarterback, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Then the tests of Murphy’s loyalty started coming as the recruiting cycle began to wind down.

Texas decided to pursue another quarterback in the class during the fall of 2021, extending an offer to top-50 national product Devin Brown, a standout at Corner Canyon in Utah.

Murphy remained firm and Brown ended up committing to and signing with Ohio State.

Following an up-and-down season by Casey Thompson impacted by injury, Sarkisian and his staff made Quinn Ewers a priority target when he entered the transfer portal following a semester at Ohio State.

Murphy remained firm even with other programs expressing interest in the days before the early signing period, signing with the Longhorns even as Ewers committed and immediately became the future at the quarterback position for Texas.

Months later, after Murphy enrolled early in Austin and battled through the rehabilitation process from the ankle injury that ended his high school career in the state championship game, one of the most high-profile recruitments of the modern era ended with 2023’s No. 1 prospect Arch Manning pledging to Texas.

Suddenly, the succession plan was clear at a position with high turnover across college football, especially among elite talents — Ewers would start for two years and play well enough to fulfill his potential as a first-round pick and then Manning would take over.

It was a plan with little margin for error and little room for Murphy, who was expected to compete for the starting job against Manning in 2024 before pursuing playing time elsewhere.

Still, Murphy remained firm, even after a strong performance in the Orange-White game reportedly led to contact from Power Five programs offering a more clear path towards playing time, eventually narrowly winning the backup role over Manning during preseason camp.

Murphy got his opportunity in starts against BYU and Kansas State, up-and-down affairs that featured the strong-armed passer showing off his arm talent and flashes of deep-ball accuracy while also demonstrating his room for growth with bad decisions and poor ball security that resulted in three interceptions and a red-zone fumble against the Cougars.

With a remarkable number of high-profile quarterbacks entering the NCAA transfer portal since the window opened earlier this month, there’s pressure on Murphy to make a decision about his future before a public announcement from Ewers about his own plans — there are a limited number of quarterback competitions set to happen at high-level Power Five programs and those competitions will happen during the spring.

Given the opportunity to compete against Arch Manning, the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 recruiting class, Murphy might indeed choose to compete at Texas during spring practice, so the reported decision by Murphy to enter the portal strongly suggests that Ewers plans to return for another decision on the Forty Acres.

Even if Murphy’s decision isn’t tied to that of Ewers, there’s no question that the first quarterback to commit to Sarkisian proved his loyalty to the Texas head coach and to the program on numerous occasions until it became necessary to make a purely business decision.

Even if this is it for Murphy and Texas, the 6’5, 238-pounder will unquestionably leave campus as a lifetime Longhorn with the full backing of the burnt orange and white faithful in his future endeavors.