Byron Murphy, Washington’s highly regarded cornerback, will pass up his last two years of eligibility, joining fellow Huskies defensive back Taylor Rapp as early entries in the NFL Draft.
Murphy, a sophomore from Scottsdale, Ariz., announced his decision on Monday, six days after playing his final collegiate game in the Rose Bowl. Rapp declared for the NFL the day after the UW’s 28-23 loss to Ohio State in Pasadena.
Draft analysts have Murphy pegged as a second-round pick, though he has ample coverage skills that could bump him into a first-rounder.
After an injury-laden freshman year in 2017, Murphy enjoyed a big year—he was named Pac-12 championship game most valuable player, first-team all-conference and second-team Associated Press All-America.
His 66-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter decided the league title game, enabling the Huskies to beat Utah 10-3.
The UW could have just three starters return from the defense that opened against Ohio State—senior linebacker Brandon Wellington, senior cornerback Myles Bryant and junior free safety Brandon McKinney, the latter replacing the injured Rapp.