PHOTO STORY: NFL prospect Caleb Murphy visits Justus Gage Elementary

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

DOWAGIAC — Excitement was in the air Monday afternoon at Justus Gage Elementary as students had a chance to meet a former Dowagiac star.

Caleb Murphy, a Dowagiac graduate, college football star and NFL Draft prospect, visited Justus Gage Elementary Monday afternoon to share with students the importance of reading.

Murphy capped a record-setting collegiate career at  Ferris State University by leading the Bulldogs to their second-straight Division II National Championship last fall. A former Justus Gage student himself, Murphy read to the students and took time to answer questions after. 

“I made good choices growing up and it has gotten me to where I am today,” he told students Monday. “The teachers, principals, everybody helped me get to where I am today.” 

Murphy praised the district’s teachers and asked students to be respectful of them.

“Be nice to your teachers. They care about you guys,” he said. “It’s not an easy job, I was once a kid and I totally understand, but show love to them. They love you guys.”

When asked who or what inspired him, Caleb said his mother and the Chieftains football standouts who came before him.

“There were guys like me, they were playing football and we’d go to all the high school games like you guys and I just wanted to play football. My mom, she’s always worked hard so I wanted to work hard, too.”

When asked how tall he was, Murphy’s reply of 6’5” generated many ooh’s and ahh’s from the students. For Murphy, a first-generation college graduate, showing children the importance of education meant a lot.

“I’m trying to show the kids how important school is because I’m a first generation graduate,” he said. “I put myself in a good position. So you know, college helped me a lot. I’m just trying to show them how awesome the importance of studies and stuff is.”