The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

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January 1, 2014

Murphy was well-liked student-athlete

TARBORO — A 2012 Tarboro High graduate and three-time football state champion standout center, Brandon Charles Murphy, died Christmas day in a one-car accident on N.C. 97 near Rocky Mount.

According to reports, the 19-year-old was deceased when officers arrived on the scene around 8:40 a.m. The investigation is still ongoing, but law enforcement said the Jeep Wrangler Murphy was driving went off the right side of the road, down an embankment and hit a tree.

Murphy was part of a special run that Tarboro had and was on three consecutive state championship teams from 2009-2011. In 2010 and 2011, Murphy started at center and was a key to the Vikings rushing attack that featured Georgia Bulldogs startailback Todd Gurley II. The Vikings used that rushing attack to dominate teams, which included going undefeated with a 16-0 record in 2010.

Murphy was a well-liked student-athlete at Tarboro and was a joy to be around, according to Tarboro coach Jeff Craddock.

"Prayers go out to the family for their loss," Craddock said. "It breaks my heart to see a former player lose their life so soon. Brandon had a lot ahead of him because he was a bright young man."

Craddock said Murphy was a hardworking player on the football field and was a great individual to be around.

"When I got word about it, all I could think about was what the family was going through," Craddock said. "He was just such a wonderful young man to be around and gave us all he had on the football field."

At Murphy's funeral Sunday, with standing room only, friends, family, classmates, teammates and coaches paid tribute and said their last goodbyes.

Vikings assistant coach Marcus Stanley said the team and coaches signed a football and gave it to the Murphy family.

"Dealing with a former player's death is tragic," Stanley said. "He was a vital part of our championship runs. He took over at center his junior year and was outstanding. He gave us 100 percent every day and he never complained about anything."

Stanley said it was hard, because you never want to see anyone go through a tragedy like that, especially someone you know.

Murphy was well-liked by his classmates and was a joy to be around.

His former classmates got together and bought the family a card and flowers.

The 2012 class president, Cameron Pollard, remembered Murphy as a good classmate. She said he was well-liked by everyone.

"He was funny and made us all smile," Pollard said. "He was just a good person to be around and was a good football player, too."

Pollard said it was scary to lose a classmate like that, because it could've been anyone of them in the accident.

"It just really hit home," Pollard said. "It's just sad to lose someone so young and especially someone you know."

Murphy had dreams of working for himself one day and was comfortable with what he wanted to do in life, according to Craddock.

"We talked some about what he was going to do after high school and I always knew he was an outdoors kind of guy," Craddock said. "He was comfortable with who he was as a person and I think everyone should be like that."

Murphy left a great impression on Craddock and many others that knew him.

"I am just blessed to be able to have known him and to have coached him," Craddock said. "He always gave everything he had and I liked that about him."

Murphy is survived by his parents, Charles and Paula Harrell Murphy, a brother Stuart Murphy and his grandparents, Glanor Harrell and Peggy Harts.

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