The spike in Ismael Murphy-Richardson's recruitment is new territory. And not just to him. His high school, Goodyear Arizona's Desert Edge, isn't exactly a Division-I football factory. It pumps out few BCS-level players. It's only been open since 2002.
Needless to say Murphy-Richardson's offers from Florida, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington make him the hottest recruiting commodity in the history of the program. The thing is, interest in his services is still rising.
The most recent sign of the situation's enormity arrived via a phone conversation with Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Apparently, Murphy-Richardson's recruitment is going to be that kind of party. This is no regional battle.
"Talking to him was awesome, man," Murphy-Richardson, who is being recruited as a defensive end, said of Saban. "It was like a dream come true, but I was so nervous. He just told me that he liked the way that I played. He told me they have a scholarship for me if I keep my grades right.
"The defensive lien coach contacted my coach and had me call. He got me on the phone with Coach Saban."
Whether or not the offer is committable at this point is uncertain. The nature of the conversation and the language in which it was worded were vague. Whatever the case, though, things between the Arizona-based athlete and the Tide are getting serious. And so goes the larger theme of his recruitment.
"I'm just starting to be in contact with South Carolina, too," Murphy-Richardson said "That's another new one."
Murphy-Richardson insists that all of the schools involved in his recruitment stand on level footing for now. The only visits he says he definitely intends to take are to Alabama and Oregon. Even those will likely be official and come later in the year. Recipients of other trips are set to be determined down the road. But while his recruitment sounds like it could be a long, drawn-out process, that's not the case at all.
This thing could be over before it really gets started.
"I want to get it over with probably before the fourth of July, so I can get focused on the season and everything like that," Murphy-Richardson said. "That just sounds like a good date to have it done."
The checklist he'll use to make his choice is familiar. It's the same line of investigation every prospect in America says he uses when picking a school. It's old and it's tired. But it's also tried and true.
"I just want to see if it fits right and how much playing time I'll have," Murphy-Richardson said. "I want to see if I can play as a freshman. I haven't really put too much thought into it. That stuff is just off the top of my head."
As a junior at Desert Edge, Murphy-Richardson recorded 68 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He also caught 32 passes for 747 yards and 11 touchdowns.