Aaron Murray has had quite a career at UGA and could decide to enter the 2013 NFL draft after this season. That would be a huge mistake for the young quarterback. Here’s why.
First of all, Murray will have a chance in 2013 to settle some unfinished business in the SEC.
In his three years as a starter, Murray has never beaten South Carolina. In fact, it has been under Murray’s tenure that the Gamecocks posted three straight wins over the Bulldogs for the first time ever. It would be mighty sweet for him to be the one to put an end to that streak.
Also, Murray would be guaranteed another shot at an LSU team that embarrassed Georgia in the 2011 SEC Championship game. That game would also be quite the story with Murray going head-to-head with former Bulldog Zach Mettenberger. Murray beat Mettenberger—who was later booted from the team for off-the-field issues—out of the starting job in 2010.
In his last game against both those teams, Murray turned in underwhelming performances, and he should want another crack at them.
Second, if Murray should choose to return, he will shatter almost every UGA passing record there is.
Murray already owns the career record for passing touchdowns, passing David Greene’s previous mark of 74 in the Kentucky game. If he stays, he’ll be a lock to own the record career completions and yards, both also currently held by Greene.
Third, besides individual achievements, Murray’s return will give him another shot at something more important: championships.
Of course, Murray and the Dawgs will be playing for the 2012 SEC Championship in a few weeks and still have an outside shot at a national championship.
Still, even if Georgia captures the SEC this season, Murray would have a lot to look forward to next season in competing again for, or defending, the SEC and a real shot at a national championship.
The defense will have to reload some, but the Georgia offense looks to be stacked next season.
Tavarres King and Marlon Brown will be gone, but hopefully a healthy Michael Bennett will be able to return and Malcolm Mitchell will still be hauling in passes. And with the way Murray distributes the ball, he won’t have a problem finding guys to throw it to.
The real leaps forward for UGA’s offense next year will be on the offensive line and at running back.
With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both having exceptional seasons as true freshmen, what these kids do in their second year in the system should be something to marvel at.
Plus, they’ll be running behind an offensive line that’s gotten consistently better this season. While it’s not a guarantee that the entire line will be back, there is not one senior in the unit. Plus, Kolton Houston may finally be eligible, and John Theus will almost certainly make huge strides between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
With a good line protecting him and Gurley and Marshall setting up the play-action pass, Murray should easily have the best season of his career, which is saying a lot.
Finally, Murray should take advantage of his final season to improve his draft status. If Murray were to come out after this season, he projects to be a likely third-rounder, maybe even lower. He doesn’t have prototypical NFL height and hasn’t proven himself to be a pressure player against good defenses—yet.
Murray will have plenty of chances in his senior year against the likes of South Carolina, LSU and Florida to prove to scouts that he can play well against elite, pro-style defenses. If he’s able to do that, he should easily push himself up into the second or maybe even first round in the 2014 draft, and that could be a difference of millions of dollars for the young man.
The choice should be easy for Murray to stick around for one more season. Both the Bulldog Nation and his bank account will be better off for it. Let’s hope he makes the right decision.