He was once considered a troublemaker, a brawling, destructive youngster--the type who often becomes a burden to society.
Today, he only raises hell on the football field.
Trevor Murphy, 19, is a freshman at Glendale College--and a godsend to Coach Jim Sartoris.
Murphy, a fullback, arrived unannounced on the Vaqueros' doorstep courtesy of Mike Boshers, coach at Village Christian High in Sun Valley.
"I saw Trevor in the ninth grade and he was a real dirt bag," Boshers said. "He was the kind of kid who would mouth off. But it was obvious he was the player I wanted on the field."
Boshers introduced Murphy to football, an outlet to vent aggressions that had surfaced in brawling, alcohol abuse and senseless acts, such as tossing eggs at police cars.
A youth minister at Christ Evangelical Church, Boshers teaches athletes leadership qualities, which he said Murphy possesses. The problem was that Murphy was frequently leading others in the wrong direction.
"He was the type of guy that would say, 'Let's go and get drunk,' and everyone would go," said Murphy's brother, Troy. "He hurt people and they hurt him. It was mutual."
Boshers said Murphy was hungry for athletics--a kid with a lot of potential who only needed guidance.
"I don't know what triggered me to turn my life around," Murphy said. "Maybe it was one too many fights or drinks. One thing is for sure, my life couldn't get any lower."
This is a kid who ate a jar of spiders because someone bet he wouldn't.
This is the same kid who put his finger in a rat trap to win a $30 bet. No pain, no gain.
This is also the kid who ate snails--uncooked. No challenge too small.
"He is crazy," Boshers said. "He's a guy going upstream."
Murphy not only eats animals, he is an animal, according to brother Troy. "When he's playing football he would rather go straight through someone than around them," Troy said.
Boshers helped Murphy develop his football potential through workouts and weight training. He progressed from a 5-11, 160-pound youngster to a 205-pound predator.
He played three years at Village Christian and received all-league honors, twice as a fullback and once as a linebacker.
"He can run, catch and block," Vaquero running back Joe Conway said. "He can do it all."
Sartoris said he was surprised by Murphy's success because players from eight-man schools such as Village Christian usually are not trained as well as players from 11-man programs.
"There is less competition between schools and the coaching staff is smaller," Sartoris said. "The kids have a hard time adjusting to the intensity of college ball."
Murphy has made the adjustment. Primarily a blocker, the starting fullback has carried the ball 23 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. He has caught three passes for 18 yards.
"Rarely does a person with a limited background reach his potential so quickly," Sartoris said. "Trevor has supreme confidence and I believe that is half the battle. He says what he's going to do and he does it."
Among the things he has done is combine his football talents with Christian beliefs and a winning attitude.
"Football is a ministry for me," Murphy said. "If I can lead by example and influence one person, then it is all worth it."
Teammate Reginald Thomas said Murphy's leadership is reassuring and that he keeps the team motivated. "We know he is here on a mission," Thomas said. "It's OK because he gets everyone psyched up."
Murphy wants to be a youth minister and guide youngsters through tough times, as Boshers did for him.
"Christian examples are very important," Murphy said. "I want to influence kids and help them out of troubled times."