First generation Irish American Patrick Murray improved his NFL stock as the lone representative from the Patriot League to receive one of the 58 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships for the Fall. Murray earned the scholarship of $7500 as a standout placekicker and punter for the Fordham College football team as well as his strong character off the field.
Murray explained how his GAA past gave him a leg up on the competition to be an NFL team’s leg.
“I grew up watching my Dad, Uncles Ciaran Murray and Brendan Murray, and cousin, Aedin Murray, who were all national caliber Gaelic football players in Ireland. I try to watch as much Gaelic football as I can, it is my first love,” he told NFL Draft Zone.
“I bleed Green, White, and Orange. Gaelic football players don’t get paid to play, you play to represent your county that is more important than earning money.”
Although inspired by Gaelic football, Murray found his calling in American football and the money will come whether its important to him or not.
“Some big teams have already indicated some real interest. The base salary for most rookie players coming out of university is $413,000 But the highest-paid NFL player in my position on the field is currently earning around $2 million a year,” Murray explained to the Irish Independent.
“I went to an open day recently and all 32 NFL teams had a representative there to watch me kick. I put on an absolute show for them..it was unbelievable.” Murray went on to say “Afterwards I spoke with nearly every team and I’ve a workout organised with the New York Giants. When I sign papers at the end of April there’s a signing-on bonus and that ranges from €5,000 to $40,000.”
Murray will walk away from Fordham as one of the best kickers to ever attend the school. As its not usual for one player to both kick field goals and punt, Murray excelled in both categories. In 2011 at the College Football Performance Awards, Murray was named the Punt Performer of the Year. Amazingly, at the College Football Performances in 2012, Murray was named the Placekicker of the Year.
Murry made 25 field goals last season, the most in the NCAA, while ranking second for the longest punting average with 46 yards per punt. This past season he also made the most field goals over 50 yards in NCAA Division 1 football with 4 including a school record 55-yarder. Murray ended up with 105 points for the season, a school and league record for points for a kicker. Murray explained he had some help this season from a fallen friend, Vincent Crotty, who tragically lost his life in a car accident.
"Whenever I was nervous or felt the pressure coming on this year I would grab my left wrist which I always taped and wrote Vinny's initials, VC, on and I would know he was there," said Murray.
"It was such an honor to play for Fordham this year, and to have the successes that I had made it even better. There are many things in this world that are bigger than football. I didn't really comprehend that until Vinny passed away. I try and live every day how he would have, always having fun and always laughing. His smile and laugh were unlike any others, and I want to try and keep his memory alive. Vinny is and always will be my inspiration."
Murray was named a First Team All-American placekicker by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, The American Football Coaches Association, and the Beyond Sport Network following the 2012 season. Murray was also named the Beyond Sport Network Special Teams Player of the Year and was given the Fred Mitchell Award for being the top placekicker in NCAA FCS, Division II, NAIA and NJCAA.
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore