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Texas DT Byron Murphy named to the ‘Freaks List 2023’

The self-described strongest player on the Longhorns roster comes in at No. 18 on the list.

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas Austin American-Statesman-USA TODAY NETWORK

The annual list of college football’s freak athletes is out on Tuesday from Bruce Feldman at The Athletic and Texas Longhorns junior defensive tackle Byron Murphy is ranked No. 18:

The Longhorns have gotten a lot better in the trenches on Steve Sarkisian’s watch, and the 6-1, 308-pounder is a good example why. The junior, who had 26 tackles and three TFLs last year, has been clocked at 18 MPH on the GPS, had a team-best 455-pound front squat, and power-cleaned 375 pounds. He could’ve gone heavier, but strength coach Torre Becton shut him down. Becton says Murphy could’ve gotten 500 on the front squat and 405 in the power clean.

In a recent media availability, Murphy called himself the strongest player on the Texas team, an assertion that senior right tackle Christian Jones didn’t argue with, though he did point out Murphy’s “mechanical advantage,” also known as short arms.

But as the GPS indicated, Murphy isn’t just strong, he’s also exceptionally fast for a defensive tackle, a trait that helped him excel as a running back from fifth grade until ninth grade, when he admittedly ate himself out of the position.

Murphy wasn’t a slasher, though, right?

“I could do everything,” Murphy said.

The junior from DeSoto is still holding out hope he might get a carry in the goal-line package, but Murphy’s more important contributions will come on the defensive side of the ball, where he’ll try to live up to his status as a selection to the Big 12 preseason first team despite only two career starts entering this season.