Athlete of the week: Zionsville quarterback develops accuracy, pocket presence

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Zionsville Community High School senior Luke Murphy keeps growing as a quarterback.

“On the field, the thing I’ve improved on most is pocket presence,” Murphy said.

Murphy said his decision-making on when to stay in the pocket and when to run or get rid of the football has improved.

“(The improvement) comes both from his development in the offense, his willingness to take coaching, and also his knack for making plays if things break down,” Eagles coach Scott Turnquist said. “He knows he can count on the guys around him to make plays for him as well.”

In the first three games, Murphy completed 73.3 percent (44 of 60) of his passes for 546 yards for the Eagles (2-1).

Turnquist said Murphy has embraced his role as a leader.

“His play has commanded the respect of his teammates and he has developed vocally as well,” Turnquist said. “His teammates know they can count on him to give everything he has to help the team be successful and they listen to his experience. He has continued to develop his understanding of the offense in all phases and is growing every day as a pocket passer. He has great playmaking ability and uses that ability when he needs to, and for him that is becoming a great combination.”

Last season, Murphy was the backup quarterback and played safety.

“I think his time last season at safety helped him develop his understanding of the game overall and what defenses are doing, which helped a lot in his quarterback play as well,” Turnquist said.

Murphy said playing safety helped him learn to recognize different coverages.

As a junior backup to Christian Abney, Murphy completed 40 percent of his 60 passes. As a sophomore, he started for part of the season when Abney was injured and completed 110 of 176 passes (62.5 percent) for 1,421 yards to help the Eagles reach the Class 5A state title game before losing to Cathedral.

“I think the time as a sophomore helped a great deal so that he knew what to expect from the high-quality opponents in our conference and what to expect week in and week out,” Turnquist said.

Murphy said he was understandably nervous as a sophomore.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Murphy said. “I had a lot of talented players around me. We were able to have success and that has helped me a lot this year.”

Murphy said he is fortunate to have a talented group of receivers, including seniors Wrigley Bumgardner, Ryan Skura, Mason Riggins and junior Eugene Hilton, son of former Indianapolis Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton.

“We got our timing and chemistry down in the offseason and it’s helped a lot,” he said. 

Murphy, who also is a catcher for ZCHS baseball team, said he would play football in college if he gets the right opportunity.

AA ATHLETE OF THE WEEK 0913 head shot

Favorite athlete: Joe Burrow

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite TV show: “Family Guy”

Favorite musician: Drake


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