In this feature piece, you will learn about Larrell Murchison’s story through the help of his twin brother Farrell Murchison. I spoke with Farrell about his brother’s story as well as his own. Now, let’s take a dive into the story of new Tennessee Titan defensive lineman Larrell Murchison.
“Whatever he felt, I felt. The nervousness and the anxiety. I just knew how he felt to be in this predicament but when the Titans called his name all I could do is cry and be happy for my superstar brother. The love I have for my family is unconditional.” – Farrell Murchison speaking about the moments before his younger brother (by 15 minutes) Larrell was drafted.
Larrell and Farrell Murchison are twins from Elizabethtown, North Carolina in Bladen County. They both graduated from East Bladen High School. Larrell was a three year starter at fullback and defensive end. He rushed for 545 yards, 5 TDs and averaged 7.7 yards. On defense he tallied 83 tackles, 31 of them being solo. He was a 1st team All DL, 2nd team at FB.
In 2015, his attempt to join Farrell at Winston Salem State fell through because of low SAT scores. He and his brother then decided to enroll at Louisburg College about 2 hours north of Elizabethtown to be together. As a freshman at Louisburg College he totaled 18 tackles and 6 tackles for loss. The Louisburg College JUCO product became an All-American top 50 JUCO recruit after year 2 at Louisburg. He had 41 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks.
He transferred to North Carolina State in 2017. One of several redirections that Larrell has had to deal with. After Louisburg, he had committed to Ole Miss initially then switched to Georgia soon after only to be denied the scholarship a day before signing day because they had “over signed.” To his defense, he was looking to join (at the time) University of North Carolina assistant Tray Scott, in hopes to work with the mentor he grew to trust. Redirection was nothing new to him. He had to redshirt his first season at N.C. State and while he was gearing up for his 2018 campaign he got news that would leave him speechless. In August of 2018, his brother Farrell was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Thus starting a journey of support for Farrell but worry for Larrell, which seemed to last a lifetime. That Fall, he won the Cary Brewbaker Award (Defensive Lineman of the Year) and the Alpha Wolf Rising Award. (Most Improved Player) He made big plays against big schools. He had 3 sacks vs. Virginia and an interception vs. FSU. Finishing the season with 32 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks. He played inspired. His life had been turned upside down and the football field had become his safe haven.
There was a brief moment of conflict on whether playing football was the biggest priority in his life at the time. His life partner up until that point was going through the fight of his life. Larrell ultimately came to the conclusion that he had to keep pushing and keep playing for his brother and for his family. He wanted nothing more than to repay all of the loved ones that had done so much for him during his career. His brother wasn’t a distraction but more of a motivation factor and energy source. Farrell recovered by Spring Ball 2019 and Larrell went on to crush his 2019 redshirt senior campaign garnering the NFL’s attention. He had 48 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 7 sacks. He ultimately got drafted in the 5th round, 174th pick to the Tennessee Titans. He’s the first Bladen County football player to be drafted to the NFL.
“Me and my brother’s relationship has always been close. We’ve always been one of each other. I feel like everything he feels I feel. After he beat cancer we’ve been closer. We love each other. We call each other almost everyday,” Larrell Murchison said.
Larrell adds, “if he can beat cancer and go through the symptoms of having it you know and going through the sickness, chemo and things of that sort. Then nothing can break me because if he’s strong then I’m strong.”
The football accolades will always be there and several evaluators will inform you of how great of a defensive tackle Larrell Murchison is. I’m here to tell you the person is just as good. Jon Robinson got this one right when it comes to character. Larrell knows what it’s like to be a brother. The accountability, patience, and constant maintenance it requires, are the building blocks of love and a tightly knit locker room.
Big Brother Farrell
Farrell Murchison (6’1″ 228 lbs.) played with his brother at Louisburg College and even won Offensive Player of the Year there in 2015 as a freshman. Then he later transferred to Winston Salem State University in 2017. He had 88 carries, 542 yards, and 4 TDs in his first season at WSSU but in 2018 things changed drastically for the Murchison family.
Farrell Murchison found out that he had testicular cancer and embarked on an 8-month recovery trek; one in which he saw his weight drop from 225+ lbs. to under 200 lbs. He obviously missed the 2018 season but Farrell is a fighter and returned to practice Spring of 2019. His weight ballooned to 250 lbs as he started improving, in an attempt to gain back the weight he lost. With his work ethic, he got it down to a comfortable playing weight for him around 230 lbs. He was a new man. He even switched numbers. He once rocked #29 now he dons #8. A number signifying every trip to rehab he made during his remarkable recovery. He played in 2019 and had a successful bounce-back season. He still has one year of eligibility left and I can’t wait to see him play well and gain momentum for draft season.
In a candid interview with Farrell, I asked him a few questions in regards to his part of the story and I discovered an interesting dynamic to how he and his brother grew up.
“During high school, I was THE big star. I mean Larrell was a star but it seemed like I got all the recognition. He was my biggest supporter and I was his,” Farrell tells me.
Here’s what is very interesting about the history of the two brothers, Farrell further elaborates, “I was bigger than him until about our junior year then he took off.” It’s hard to believe just about 6 years ago the 6’2″ 297 lb. Larrell Murchison was just under 6 ft. and almost 100 pounds lighter. It’s even harder to envision watching his 2020 combine workouts and seeing how massive he is in close-up live action.
Farrell adds, “we never planned on getting this far but because of the love and support from our family and this good ole town.” Of course, the good ole town he’s referring to is Elizabethtown, North Carolina.
We started to talk about the illness he had. I’m thankful he was open to share what that process was like and how he was able to beat it.
“When I became ill in 2018, that Summer I was in the best shape of my life. I was coming off a good freshman year at Winston Salem State. My brother had just finished his redshirt year at N.C. State and he was gearing up for battle for the next year. When I found out that I had cancer I didn’t know how to react. My Moms and Pops were down but never lost faith so neither did I. When I was too tired to talk or go to a game I’d watch Larrell play. Every play he made I’d get a little strength back. I’d get my spirits up and I’d stop feeling sorry for myself.”
I asked him how important was it seeing Larrell when he visited and what motivated him most during this tough time.
“He’d (Larrell) see me when he could but a lot of times he’d be on the road. He was just as busy as anybody else. My mom, dad, and family inspired me to make my comeback. It was a long road but I made it.”
I loved the connection between these brothers. The fact that they’re twins makes their story even more fascinating. The fact that Farrell literally gained energy and strength from watching his twin brother play vividly reminds me of a scene in the movie Hancock where Will Smith’s twin flame is relying on his ability to separate and to be himself to ultimately save her. Obviously this isn’t a movie and these are brothers not superhero love interests from the ancient past but they embody both attached and detached aspects of love. One decided to go to JUCO because the other didn’t qualify for a D2 program they both liked. That’s love. One valiantly fought in the name of his brother’s legacy and future to make a way for his whole family but it required distance to accomplish that. That’s love too.
These two gentlemen are the epitome of love.
I closed by asking Farrell what his plans were for the near future?
“My plan for now is to train until I graduate and then pursue my career in football. I’ll hit a couple of combines and see where I’m at. Until then I will be in the trenches working very hard.”
With what Farrell has triumphed I’m banking on Larrell not being the only Murchison in the NFL come this time next year.