Talk about making an entrance. On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys rookie and third-string running back at the beginning of the season DeMarco Murray, ran for 253 yards against the St. Louis Rams, breaking Emmitt Smith's single game rushing record for a Dallas Cowboys running back of 237 yards (set at Philadelphia against the Eagles on October 31, 1993). The record total included a first-quarter 91-yard touchdown run that is second longest in Cowboys history, after a NFL-record 99-yard run by Tony Dorsett in January 1983. Sunday was Murray's first start as a pro after Felix Jones was injured the prior week versus the Patriots, but if his record-setting day is any indicator, it won't be his last start. Today we take a look back at Murray when he was in high school with an ESPNHS Alumnus of the Week feature.
DeMarco Murray attended Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, a school that is now a national power currently sitting at No. 9 in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, but was just building as such with the help of Murray and others in the mid-2000s. Murray was a star from the beginning of his Gael career as a sophomore in 2003, when he rushed for 1,395 yards and 17 touchdowns to earn all-conference honors.
A year behind another top notch recruit at Gorman, LB Ryan Reynolds who went onto a solid career at Oklahoma, Murray was no secret after his breakout sophomore campaign, especially when he showed up at the 2004 Stanford Nike Camp and posted the ninth-fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.49 seconds out of over 500 participants. Current NFL wideouts Desean Jackson (4.43) and Brandon Gibson (4.46) were a few of the handful who bested Murray in the 40 that day, but his star was clearly on the ascent, as he landed early offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Florida, Nebraska and Wisconsin prior to the start of his junior season that fall.
Murray didn't disappoint as a junior, rushing for 1,271 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 138 carries in eight games while also catching 19 passes for 223 yards to earn ESPNHS Junior All-American honors. He returned again to the Stanford Nike Camp in May of 2005 to once again post one of the event's fastest 40s (4.52 on a slow track, eighth-best out of 500-plus competitors). The then 6-foot, 183 pounder also showed his terrific pass-catching ability to dominate in drills, a pre-cursor of what would come in his college career.
As a senior in the fall 2005, Murray rushed for 1,947 yards and 27 touchdowns and also caught 22 passes for 624 yards and 7 touchdowns, earning him ESPNHS All-American honors, all-state honors and the 2005 Sunset Region Offensive Player of the Year award. He even chipped in 64 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions on the defensive side of the ball to lead Gorman to a 9-3 record. Murray visited Florida, Oklahoma, USC and Penn State before selecting the Sooners during the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Considered one of the top running backs of his class alongside Chris Wells, C. J. Spiller and Michael Goodson, Murray was rated the nation's top RB and No. 6 overall in the ESPNU 150 for the Class of 2006 by ESPN, the nation's No. 2 all-purpose back and No. 35 overall player by Rivals.com and the nation's No. 8 RB and No. 37 player overall by Scout.com.