It’s official. Harding quarterback Braheam Murphy is a college football player.
Some of you may already know his story. Almost three years ago, Murphy was out of football and didn’t have a place to live when he asked Harding coach Sam Greiner if could live with him. Greiner said yes, moving the teenager into his home with his wife and two young daughters.
The move has affected them both greatly. Murphy has embraced the deep religious faith that Greiner wears on his sleeve. He’s also grown literally (through eating regularly) and figuratively. Greiner watched Murphy sign his National Letter of Intent with Army Wednesday morning and had to fight back the tears.
It’s been quite a journey for Greiner -- from once telling Murphy he couldn’t play football because of grades, to moving Murphy in, to watching Murphy lead his team to the school’s first state championship since the ‘50s....to this.
I am not sure I’ve ever seen a sports story like this. Even beyond the family dynamic, Harding was 1-10 two years before it won the state championship in December. Harding had last reached the state finals in 1987. But since that time, it had been one of the least successful teams in North Carolina.
For Greiner, a third-year coach, to do what he did -- to turn this team around so quickly -- was remarkable. For a QB like Murphy to lead them there, under the circumstances by which he did it, was even moreso.
Wednesday, Greiner said, was the culmination of it all.
“I knew God could bring us here,” Greiner said. “I can’t put into words how happy I was today, to see him so happy. Watching him become this leader he’s become is just mind-blowing. He’s going to be so much greater than I am. Braheam’s more than just a football player. He’s more than just a scholar-athlete. He’s a man who is going to lead many people. He has gifts that are unseen by the physical eye. He can rally people and bring the most out of them, even me myself. He’s a good looking kid. People listen when he speaks.”
A look back at Murphy’s journey, through words, photos and videos.
▪ 1. The story began two years ago, but the Observer picked up on it in October of 2016, when Greiner told the story of how he had to tell Murphy he was ineligible to play athletics and how he found out Murphy really didn’t have a home – and eventually how Murphy asked him to live with Greiner, his wife and his two young children. Story here
▪ 2. In May, Murphy’s hard work in the classroom and the field began to pay off. He got a scholarship offer from Army, where he would sign in December. Story here
▪ 3. In November, the Observer chronicled how Greiner put together a champion – through faith, love, hope and help from a big local church. Story here.
▪ 4. In December, Harding wins the N.C. 4A state championship and Murphy – who ran for the put-away touchdown (photo above) – is named his team’s offensive MVP. Story here.
5. Finally, a few days after the win, CNN took the story national and Murphy was invited by the Carolina Panthers for a pregame ceremony. Story here.