Shawn Murphy wasted no time in announcing his decision July 25 before family, friends and teammates at the United Sportsplex in Manassas.
With five hats spread out on a table in front of him representing his final college choices, the Unity Reed senior linebacker got right to the point.
There was no drama. No special effects. No sleight of hand.
After saying a few words thanking everyone who helped him reach this position, Murphy let everyone know he had chosen defending national champion Alabama. He then stood up from the table, put the microphone back in the cradle and placed the Alabama hat on his head to make it official.
“I wanted to keep it simple,” Murphy said.
Later he removed a pullover to reveal an Alabama national championship T-shirt underneath.
He ordered both items on Amazon July 20, the same day he told Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban that he planned to commit to Alabama.
Murphy had contacted Alabama the week before, saying he wanted to let the coaches know his plans. Everything was scheduled for July 20 based on Saban's availability.
The Crimson Tide offered Murphy in April, 2019 of his freshman year. Saban visited Unity Reed Jan. 21, 2020. Alabama has won six national titles under Saban.
Murphy, rated the nation’s top inside linebacker for the class of 2022 by Rivals, most recently saw Alabama June 16th on an unofficial visit.
“They liked everything about him,” said Unity Reed head football coach Carroll Walker. “His character, his technique. They wanted him and pushed for him. And they got him.”
Murphy was honored the day Saban visited the school.
“I was not expecting it,” Murphy said. “It threw me off, but it made me feel like I was something great.”
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Murphy fits well into how Alabama uses linebackers through constant movement and aggressive style of play.
Murphy chose the Crimson Tide over his four other finalists: LSU, Florida, Penn State and Ohio State. Based on his rapport with one of the Gators’ coaches, Murphy said he informed Florida of his decision July 25th before making it public. The other three schools learned of his choice when he announced it.
Murphy said he plans to graduate early and to enroll at Alabama in January.
Murphy originally planned to announce his decision Aug. 1, but then moved it up a week to accommodate the schedule of family and friends. He used United Sportsplex as the site of the announcement because it is where he trains under Raymond Washington.
Murphy also wanted to make the decision as soon as possible before football season started. Unity Reed begins practice July 29. The Lions' first regular-season game is Aug. 27 against Westfield.
Murphy is the third Prince William County player to commit to Alabama and the first since 2014 Woodbridge graduate Da'Shawn Hand. Hand played four seasons for the Crimson Tide before the Detroit Lions selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Murphy is rated the No. 2 player in Virginia, the No. 7 linebacker in the nation and the No. 67 player overall for the class of 2022 in the 247Sports composite rankings. Rivals lists Murphy as Virginia’s top player and No. 26 overall in the nation.
As a sophomore, Murphy was a second-team all-state selection and the Cedar Run District and Class 6 Region B defensive player of the year. He is a three-time all-district selection.