Yo Murphy (right) is hands-on when it comes to training athletes trying to get to the next level.

Llewellyn Murphy, Jr., better known as Yo to Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans, remembers tearing his quad muscle in 2001. But, with the help of a performance therapist and fitness coach, Murphy was able to get back to playing wide receiver in time to help the St. Louis Rams make it to Super Bowl XXXVI on Feb. 3, 2002, which the Rams lost to the New England Patriots, the first Big Game win for QB Tom Brady.

Murphy, who played seven games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999 and was an electric kickoff returner, says he didn’t have a Plan B at the time, but the rehabilitation experience and how it helped him play four more seasons of professional football crystallized one for him.

“It showed me how much value that has, and how much impact you can have on someone’s life when you do this job and focus on what they need,” Murphy says. “I just fell in love with it.”

Murphy ended up becoming the only player ever to play seasons in the NFL, Candaian Football League (CFL), the XFL and NFL Europe. He also is the only player to suit up for the Super Bowl, Grey Cup and World Bowl championship games. Murphy is now a 15-year veteran of the performance training industry, and is expanding from his Westchase location to the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County.

Yo Murphy Performance should be up and running later this month.

At the 11,000-sq.-ft. Westchase location, 38 professional and professional-to-be athletes train as part of his clientele, including Washington Nationals outfielder Kyle Schwarber, Kanasas City Royals first baseman Carlos Santana, 2020 Heisman Trophy winner Devonta Smith (from the University of Alabama) as well as NFL hopefuls getting ready for the NFL combine, like Smith’s teammate at Alabama, DT Christian Barmore and speedy Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz.

While prepping professional athletes for a combine or upcoming season may be a specialty, Murphy says his training center also caters to a few hundred “corporate,”  as well as more than 100 youth athletes.

“We treat the regular dude like a serious athlete,” Murphy says. “People get in ruts when they just go to the gym (to go). The only difference between the athlete and the regular dude is, while in the gym training, athletes have a start and an end date. We are good as humans when we have goals and we have deadlines and we have discipline involved. That’s what we focus on. We treat everyone the same.”

Murphy says he was alerted to the Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus by his director of basketball, Darryl Hepburn, who Murphy says has held NBA combines but saw a need for a facility with more courts. Once Murphy visited, he saw the Wiregrass Sports Campus, with its 98,000-sq. ft. of indoor space to be “a perfect fit.”

Yo Murphy Performance caters to the serious athlete, whether professional or amateur. The Wiregrass Ranch location, he says, will offer memberships for adults, and even offer 1-on-1 training and combines for those corporate athletes.

Expect a fair share of professional athletes to be sharing that space as well. Murphy said NFL wide receivers like Diontae Johnson (Pittsburgh), Deon Cain (Baltimore) and Auden Tate (Cincinatti and a Wharton High in New Tampa graduate) all live near the facility and plan on training there in the offseason.

Murphy expects a more than two dozen NFL players to make Wiregrass Ranch their training home now that the Super Bowl LV is over. 

For additional information about Yo Murphy Performance, visit YoMurphy.com.

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