Harvard senior left tackle Kevin Murphy hasn’t graduated yet, but he’s already headed back home.
The San Clemente, Calif. native signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco 49ers Saturday night after not being selected in this weekend’s NFL draft.
“It’s the perfect place for me, the perfect opportunity,” Murphy said. “I’m so blessed to represent my family and my teammates and my friends in a place like that. Right now I’m just living off the high, just being excited about it and celebrating with my family.”
Though he said he also had offers from the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Jets, the 2011 first-team All-Ivy standout said he chose the 49ers because his agent, Joe Linta, felt Murphy would have the best shot to make the roster there.
“My agent’s an offensive-line-oriented guy,” Murphy said. “He told me the O-Line coach for the 49ers really, really loved me and thought I could contribute to the program. He told me I was going to have the best opportunity to compete in San Francisco.”
“Also, this wasn’t a main factor, but I’m happy I get to come back to California,” he added.
Of course, making the 49ers will be no easy task, as San Francisco spent two draft picks this weekend on offensive linemen—Wake Forest’s Joe Looney in the fourth round and Western Oregon’s Jason Slowey in the sixth. As of Saturday night, the 49ers had also added Northwestern undrafted guard Al Netter to a roster that already contained 11 linemen.
But Linta—who also represents Ravens center Matt Birk ’98—has insisted to Murphy that he is an NFL player from the moment the two met on the field at the Yale Bowl following Harvard’s 45-7 win in The Game.
The left tackle, who started all 20 games for Harvard over the past two seasons, had worked out for the Patriots and Falcons before the draft, but it was San Francisco who showed the most interest after it.
“When I got a call from the 49ers coach, I just decided and committed,” explained Murphy, this past year’s Joseph E. Wolf Award winner as Harvard’s top interior lineman.
The engineering concentrator said he would begin mini-camp with the 49ers on May 10 or May 11. But though he’s focused on his professional career, Murphy hasn’t forgotten about his studies just yet.
“It actually works out perfectly for me,” he said. “My last final is the morning of May 10, and they fly me out after.”