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High School Sports

Mater Dei’s Myles Murao heading to Washington after overcoming leg injury

Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Myles Murao.
Santa Ana Mater Dei offensive lineman Myles Murao defied expectations during his recovery from a broken leg.
(Shotgun Spratling / For The Times)

When Myles Murao went down to the turf last fall, he knew it was bad. He suffered a broken fibula during Santa Ana Mater Dei’s win over San Juan Capistrano JSerra. The four-star offensive line prospect also had ligament damage in his ankle.

Doctors told him his 2018 season was over and that his 2019 season was in jeopardy too.

“They originally told me 12 months I won’t be able to play, so that would put myself [where] I wouldn’t be able to play until the playoffs of this year,” Murao said. “Well, I came back for Game 1.”

Murao constantly overachieved on the recovery schedule doctors supplied him. His coaches had to hold him back from trying to overexert himself, but Murao kept attacking the rehabilitation process.

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“Not being able to walk hurt a lot. I lost all that muscle in my right leg, which is really tough to get back,” Murao said. “Once I got that back, that’s when I started doing well again, but the process was very long. It was a lot of hard work. A lot of physical therapy.”

Instead of an end-of-regular-season return, Murao was back in May competing at the Opening Oakland Regional. That earned him an invitation to the Opening Finals event in Texas where the nation’s top high school football prospects face off against each other.

Murao didn’t yet have the same strength and lateral burst he had previously shown, but he was still named one of the top five offensive linemen at the event.

“It was a huge accomplishment for me, honestly,” Murao said of his late spring return. “Being able to come back that fast and that strong and do what I did, I think that was a huge thing.”

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Murao eased any concerns of lingering issues with his performance at the Opening Finals. He answered the question the day after returning from the event. He committed to attend Washington.

“There’s nothing better than at Washington for me, to be honest with you. Like USC, UCLA, Stanford, whatever, that’s close to home, whatever, but I think Washington is the place for me,” Murao said. “[Chris] Petersen obviously is a great coach. Him winning the Pac-12 championship last year is a huge thing.

“I want to play in the Rose Bowl. That’s a huge thing I always wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

Pace change

When Murao went to visit the campus in Seattle, he quickly noticed there was a different vibe to the city.

“Everything was so live [in Seattle],” Murao said. “I liked it a lot more than L.A. honestly. Like it’s more mellowed out. I like the scenery and stuff like that. I think it’s a good place to live. Growing up in a fast place, downtown in a city like Los Angeles where I’m from, it’s a good scenery change.”

Caleb McCullough has added more than 40 pounds since his sophomore season at Oxnard Pacifica. Now the senior linebacker is a top prospect.

He’s one of seven Southern California prospects committed to Washington. Murao said the Southland-to-Seattle trend is the result of Petersen’s acumen, the Huskies’ recent success on the field and in the NFL draft. Eighteen Washington players have been selected the last three years, including 10 in the first two rounds.

Position change

Murao has been the anchor of the Mater Dei offensive line for the last two seasons. He was the only underclassman on the unit in 2017 when the Monarchs had four senior linemen who signed with Division I schools.

He moved to left tackle following their departures to protect the blindside of quarterback Bryce Young, but Murao’s future at the college level is expected to be as an interior lineman.

Washington has told Murao he will play either guard or center. Murao hasn’t practiced snapping for a potential role as a center, but he isn’t concerned. He plans to enroll at Washington in January and can then work with offensive line coach Scott Huff on a positional transition as needed.

Murao sees an opportunity to go in and battle for immediate playing time. The Huskies’ offensive line features three seniors and a redshirt junior starting.

Future matchup?

With Young flipping his commitment from USC to Alabama last week, Murao is no longer scheduled to face his Mater Dei teammate at the next level, but he thinks they will eventually play each other in college.

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“We probably will meet up in the playoff,” Murao said with a smile.


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