Hempfield thrower Peyton Murray commits to Notre Dame

Monday, October 16, 2023 | 3:10 PM

A GIF of actor Charles S. Dutton, who plays the character Fortune in the film “Rudy,” is popular on the internet.

It shows Fortune clapping his hands, showing his appreciation for the title’s main character, the undersized underdog football player who defied the odds as a walk-on at Notre Dame.

It’s a Notre Dame love story.

Hempfield senior Peyton Murray has similar dreams of suiting up for the Fighting Irish, but he won’t have to walk on when he joins the track and field team.

Murray, the reigning WPIAL and PIAA Class 3A discus champion, announced Monday morning he has accepted a scholarship to Notre Dame following a visit to the South Bend, Ind., campus over the weekend.

What were the odds? They were much more favorable for Murray than they were for Rudy.

“My visit was awesome,” Murray said. “I got to see so many cool things on campus. Yes, I expected an offer; I just didn’t know what it would be.

“It has been my dream school ever since I was little. I visited there in sixth grade when my brother had a meet there.”

He chose Notre Dame over other offers from Indiana, Iowa, Pitt, Penn State and Kentucky.

Murray’s brother, Alex, also was a talented thrower who competed at the Division I level at DePaul.

Alex was a freshman throwing at a meet at Notre Dame about seven years ago when Peyton showed up to watch.

Starry-eyed and smitten, he knew where he wanted to go to college.

“He told me then that he will throw for Notre Dame one day,” said Dave Murray, his father and coach.

It should be noted he felt a similar attraction to Penn State and strongly considered throwing for the Nittany Lions.

The Murrays did not want to wait too long after the Penn State offer came in, for fear of losing it later. They hoped for an offer from Notre Dame, but weren’t sure what it would entail.

His father simply wanted the best fit for his son.

“He finally just texted me pictures from his times at Notre Dame,” Dave Murray said. “He always loved the campus and has been a fan of the football team as well.”

Penn and Harvard also offered roster spots. The Ivy League does not give athletic scholarships.

The two-time WPIAL discus champion, Murray was second in the state in the shot put last spring.

“I’m very excited about (Notre Dame),” Peyton Murray said. “It makes me happy to think about. I’m hoping to do big things wearing that uniform.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.


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