Sports

Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy traces his toughness to family in Arizona

  • File - In this Nov. 23, 2013, file photo, California quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws under pressure from Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy (93) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif.  The toughness Murphy plays with can be traced to just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will lead Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night. His upbringing featured steer wrestling, self-defense lessons and a large family of large people, including his father, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound contract plumber. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

    File - In this Nov. 23, 2013, file photo, California quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws under pressure from Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy (93) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif. The toughness Murphy plays with can be traced to just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will lead Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night. His upbringing featured steer wrestling, self-defense lessons and a large family of large people, including his father, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound contract plumber. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken on Nov. 7, 2013, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy warms up before an NCAA college football game against Oregon in Stanford, Calif. The toughness Murphy plays with can be traced to just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will lead Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night. His upbringing featured steer wrestling, self-defense lessons and a large family of large people, including his father, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound contract plumber. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    In this photo taken on Nov. 7, 2013, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy warms up before an NCAA college football game against Oregon in Stanford, Calif. The toughness Murphy plays with can be traced to just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will lead Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night. His upbringing featured steer wrestling, self-defense lessons and a large family of large people, including his father, a 6-foot-7, 290-pound contract plumber. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)  (The Associated Press)

The tough and tenacious way Trent Murphy plays football can be traced to his early years growing up just a few miles away from where the outside linebacker will take the field for Stanford against Arizona State in the Pac-12 championship game Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.

Murphy, who leads the nation with 13 sacks, grew up in a rural area of Mesa, Ariz. He comes from a large family of large people who raised him to work hard and fight for everything.

Murphy's menacing ways earned him the nickname "Yeti" among his Stanford teammates. Cardinal coach David Shaw has called Murphy the nastiest player on his defense.

For Murphy's family, though, he will always just be Trenton — an All-American kid from the Arizona desert who learned the values of tough love.