Chase Murdock has been chasing his football dream for a long time.
So, it was a dream come true for the Barrington senior linebacker and running back Monday night when he made a verbal commitment to play for the University of Toledo in the Mid-American Conference.
"I've wanted to play college football since I was a little guy playing Bantam football," said Murdock, whose dad Lance was a three-year letterwinning linebacker and team captain at Duke in 1971. "I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps and I wanted to do the same thing he had done when I got older.
"It feels pretty neat. I've worked pretty hard for it all the years I've been playing and been training. It feels good that all the work paid off."
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Murdock, who was a Daily Herald All-Area selection, also had scholarship offers from MAC champion Northern Illinois and Wyoming and was receiving significant interest from Bowling Green.
But his official visit this weekend to Toledo, which suffered its only MAC loss to NIU, sold him on the school and a program. The Rockets are headed to their second consecutive bowl game under third-year head coach Tim Beckman, who was an assistant at Ohio State and Oklahoma State.
"The main thing that really stood out to me was the comfortability with the players and the coaches," Murdock said. "I really enjoyed spending three days with them and the players were real good with me and my family on my visit.
"Coach Beckman is a great coach and has a winning mentality and I'm excited to go play for my. (Linebackers coach Mike) Ward is also a great guy and has a lot of energy and that's what I'm looking for and who I want to play for."
Toledo recruited Murdock to play inside linebacker in its 4-4 defensive scheme. This fall for Barrington he had 52 tackles, 7 tackles for losses and 2 sacks and he rushed for 1,586 yards and 20 touchdowns in his third 1,000-yard season.
Murdock said Toledo entered the recruiting picture near the end of the season. He sent the coaches some film and within a few days he received a scholarship offer.
"I was really excited about that, especially since it was so quick," Murdock said. "I felt everything on the visit was what I was looking for."
Conant all-area offensive lineman Paul Perschon also committed to Toledo this summer. Murdock said he would redshirt his first year since the Rockets have two juniors starting at inside linebacker.
Murdock, who has a grade-point average over a 3.0, is looking to pursue a degree in exercise science and physical training. He hopes to eventually help train athletes to achieve the goal he's reached of playing college football.
"It's a big relief just getting it out of the way and I can get focused on getting stronger and getting ready," Murdock said. "I'll go in and compete and do what I've been doing and I think I'll have a pretty good chance to start (in two years)."