One of Frank Spaziani's first decisions in his inaugural season as the Boston College football coach last September was to announce an open tryout for all interested members of the student body.
Newburyport High alumnus and Boston College sophomore Brendan Murphy, the valedictorian of the Class of 2008, answered the call and became one of two students to earn an invitation to the Boston College practice squad last season.
"I couldn't believe it at first," Murphy said. "I felt incredibly lucky to be in that situation."
Murphy, who only started for the Newburyport High football team as a senior, spent much of his freshman year at BC lifting weights. He put on 10 pounds of muscle while maintaining a 3.7 GPA, making him a desirable student-athlete prospect for Spaziani.
At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, he could play several positions over the course of a BC practice, which is essential for any member of the scout team. During an average week of practice in-season, Murphy was expected to impersonate a player from the upcoming opponent's team so that BC's varsity starters could practice winning that particular matchup.
"It was a lot of fun," Murphy said. "For the most part during the year, I played fullback on the scout team. One of the assistants would tell me my assignment, and I'd execute it to the best of my ability. It was my job to give them good looks on both sides of the ball and special teams."
The fact that Murphy could carry out that responsibility was no surprise to Newburyport football coach Ed Gaudiano, who asked Murphy to line up in various positions during his senior year.
"He was a jack-of-all-trades in high school," Gaudiano said. "He was a big, strong kid. I know he played a lot of positions, anywhere from defensive back to offensive line. We were able to put him in a lot of places."