By Kerria Weaver
Larrell Murchison, 26, was born and raised in Elizabethtown playing football from a very young age alongside his twin brother, Farrell. Today, Larrell plays defensive end for the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.
On Dec. 3, Murchison wore customized cleats for the Rams’ matchup against the Cleveland Browns to raise awareness and represent the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation.
The Border Belt Independent spoke with Murchison about his journey to the NFL and why testicular cancer awareness is a special cause for him.
Q. What was your childhood like growing up?
I grew up in a small town in North Carolina, Elizabethtown. It’s about 3,000 people with one Walmart. It’s just a small town. I have a twin brother, two sisters, and I have an older brother. I’m the youngest out of everybody. My mom and dad both worked. My mom worked in the hospital and my dad was a saw filer at a saw mill. He also cut grass on the side. When we were old enough, we were always outside in the yard helping him cut the grass. We were always in sports as well. That’s what we were really interested in growing up. My parents always had us in sports and doing activities. My parents had a very positive impact in my life, for sure.
Q. Where did you attend high school and college?
I went to high school at East Bladen High School. Then I went to Louisburg College, a junior college, for two years. After graduating, I attended North Carolina State University, where I played and graduated in 2019.
Q. How did it feel to grow up in a small town like Elizabethtown?
It was really all I knew, but honestly, it was good. It’s not too big of a city. Everybody knows everybody, and there’s good hospitality. We don’t have much as far as opportunities, but you for sure can make it out of there because there are a lot of great things that came out of Elizabethtown. The crime rate is not crazy. If anything happened in the area, it was always a shocker. I’m blessed because my small town was tightly knit. Of course, everyone has their problems, but I feel like it was a good city to grow up in.
Q. When did you become interested in playing football?
Honestly, growing up I would watch the NFL Channel with my twin brother and we would play football in the house with the TV remote and run around with it like it was a football. We would also go outside and tackle each other. We were really locked in with football since I can remember watching it on TV. We found a love for football at a young age.
Q. At this young age, did you know you wanted to make a career out of it?
Yes I did, but I also had to honestly find myself and see what I was good at. I was never the best, and it took me a while to progress through the years. At first, I was pretty good at football, and then once I got into middle school and high school I questioned, ‘Is this for me?’ So I had to find myself.
Q. Why did you want to represent the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation?
In 2018, my twin brother Farrell was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Ever since that moment, it stuck with me because of how close we are. He’s my twin brother, so whatever he feels, I feel. When he was going through that, it really took a toll on me, but it’s honestly one of the reasons I’m where I am today. That extra notch and “why?” in my life in 2018 helped me play better. I played for him. He couldn’t play that season so I gave it my all. I knew he would want me to, and he would want to if he was out there. It’s a very special cause for me, so anytime I can try to raise awareness about it, I’ll do that for sure.
Q. Why did you design your cleats in that particular way?
Purple is the ribbon for testicular cancer and I also just wanted to put a picture of me and my brother together playing football because it started with us. We kept each other going, so I wanted to definitely have him on my cleats just to let him know I’m playing for him every day.
The other picture is an album called “Decided” by NBA Youngboy. My brother listened to that album every day when he was in chemo. He told me the album helped get him through chemo.
Q. What response do you hope to gain from people when they see the players representing nonprofits at the football game?
I just hope that people will raise awareness. Even different people are raising awareness, like my teammate, Kobe Turner. He’s raising awareness for suicide prevention.
I hope people will see the hotline, and if you’re ever in doubt or ever feeling down, use the hotline and get help. This will let people know that they’re not alone. People who have testicular cancer, you’re not alone. Others fight this fight, too, so it’s important to raise awareness. I feel like raising awareness will wake everybody up. At some point, somebody will be touched.