Latavius grew up in Nedrow and started his football career at a young age with the Toolon Tigers Pop Warner. He went on to play football for Onondaga Central High School where he was a 3-sport athlete at OCS. Aside from football, he excelled in basketball and also ran track.
Latavius was a 6-foot-3 high school athlete with tremendous strength and speed. As a running back for OCS, he was all-league and all-CNY for three straight seasons. His junior year, he rushed for 2,030 yards and 30 TDs and was named first-team all-state. His senior year, he was the New York State Gatorade Player of the Year. He ran for 2,194 yards, 28 TDs and also made 78 tackles at linebacker playing both sides of the ball. He was New York’s Class D player of the year and a first-team all-state selection.
He was recruited by plenty of DI programs, including Syracuse, but Latavius wanted to run the ball in college and most of those programs valued him as a linebacker. The thought was at 6-foot-3, he was too tall (too much surface area to tackle), to be a successful college RB. So Latavius chose Central Florida, which guaranteed that he could play running back.
His sophomore year there, he was the Conference USA championship MVP and the Liberty Bowl MVP. He tore his ACL during his college career playing pickup basketball. His hard work ethic had the knee rehabilitated and by his senior season, he was first-team All-CUSA. He rushed for 2,424 yards there (5.4 yards per carry), had 37 touchdowns and 50 pass receptions.
He was not invited to the NFL combine but at senior day at UCF he caught the attention of the Oakland Raiders and they selected him in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft after an impressive pre-draft workout (he clocked a 4.38 in the 40). He has built a reputation during his NFL career as a punishing, bruising rusher and a sure-handed pass-catcher out of the backfield. He spent his rookie year in the NFL on the injured reserve list. In 2015, he was voted to the NFL’s Pro Bowl. He was the second-leading rusher in the AFC that year. His 1,066 rushing yards represented the first 1,000-yard rushing season for a Raider since Darren McFadden in 2010.
He has since played for the New Orleans Saints, the Minnesota Vikings and this past season for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a reliable, sure-handed running back who devotes his summers to conditioning and preparing for the next season. He has played in 122 NFL games over eight seasons. He’s rushed for 5,492 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and accumulated 1,369 pass-catching yards. He has endured and prospered at running back a demanding position in the NFL.
Latavius has an undergraduate degree from UCF and earned an MBA from Syracuse University in entrepreneurship. He and his wife have four young children and reside in Florida during the off season.
Throughout his pro career, he has spent countless hours giving back. He traveled to Haiti in 2016 and 2018 with Raiders QB Derek Carr to visit orphanages there. He has made monetary donations to the CNY Food Bank. He participates in the NFL’s My Cleats My Cause, where he puts up his cleats for auction to benefit the charity of his choosing.
He and Mike Hart have a joint foundation called The Hart & TayTrain (his nickname) Foundation that devotes itself to serving young people in Syracuse. Through the foundation Latavius along with fellow Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer members Mike Hart, Dennis DuVal and Tyvon Branch have hosted 9 free CNY Football/Sports Camps in Syracuse for over 300 plus kids each year, and have helped bring more than 25 Professional Athletes to the Syracuse area to assist with these free camps along with visits to the Golisano Children’s Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation and even volunteer at the Rescue Mission.
His foundation has also created a yearly Challenger Football and Challenger Basketball program for physically and mentally disabled individuals of all ages. They have run fishing clinics, free pizza giveaway during home schooling due to COVID, and just recently teamed with Eric Devendorf to host a Sneaks & Cleats giveaway along with a fun filled day of events to over 350 City of Syracuse students where they gave away brand new Nike’s and other top brand sneakers and provided barbers that gave close to 100 free haircuts.
Currently Latavius is working on a new project to help the kids in the same neighborhood he grew up in and honor his lifetime friend who tragically passed away in 2016 with working towards opening the “Jon Diaz Community Center” in Nedrow. This center will provide the kids a location for studies, sports and a safe place to “hang out”.
What else can be said about a professional athlete from Onondaga that has made a career out of the NFL and continues to give back to the Central New York Community?
We are honored to welcome Latavius Murray for induction into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.