Georgia Football: Ranking Aaron Murray's Best Options at Receiver
It has been a record-setting career for Aaron Murray during his time as quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs. Now, the redshirt senior is returning to Athens for one final attempt at the SEC and National Championships that have eluded him.
With nearly every starter expected to return from an offense that was one of the most explosive in the country in 2012, next season has the potential to be a special one for Murray and his Bulldog teammates.
There is so much talent on the offensive side of the ball, Aaron Murray might have a difficult time spreading the ball around to all of his different weapons.
This slideshow looks at the best receiving options for Murray next season.
All stats via ESPN.com
5. Jay Rome
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Rome arrived at UGA as one of the most highly regarded tight end recruits in the country coming out out of high school in 2011.
His unique combination of size and athletic ability has many believing Rome will be the next great tight end to play for the Bulldogs.
After redshirting his freshman season, Rome started the year slowly as Georgia's backup tight end behind Arthur Lynch. But the 6'6", 265-pounder from Valdosta, Ga., came on strong to finish the season, catching passes in five of Georgia's final six games, including a touchdown in the SEC Championship game against Alabama.
As Rome continues to become more comfortable with the Georgia offense, his physical skills will make him a huge problem for opposing defenses and a favorite target for Aaron Murray next season.
4. Keith Marshall
Keith Marshall was overshadowed during his freshman season because of the remarkable play of Todd Gurley, but Marshall has nothing to be ashamed of from his freshman campaign.
The speedy back from Charlotte, N.C., finished the 2012 season with 759 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 117 carries.
He will continue to get his share of touches in the running game, but Georgia also showed how Marshall can be featured as a weapon in the passing game in the Capital One Bowl when he caught three passes for 39 yards, including one acrobatic touchdown.
With another full offseason to improve his strength and defenses focusing on Georgia's other skill players, Marshall has the potential to have a big year in 2013.
3. Arthur Lynch
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When Orson Charles left early for the 2012 NFL draft, people wondered if the Bulldogs would struggle to find his replacement. Instead, Arthur Lynch emerged as one of Aaron Murray's most consistent targets over the course of the season.
Lynch finished the year with 24 receptions and 431 yards and appeared to be playing his best at the end of the year with strong performances against Alabama and Nebraska.
Lynch's 6'5", 260-pound frame makes him a big target for Murray, and his speed makes him a difficult cover for opposing linebackers and safeties.
With a strong year and consistent looks from his quarterback, Lynch could emerge as the best tight end in the SEC.
2. Michael Bennett
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Before going down with a season-ending knee injury, Michael Bennett was Georgia's most consistent receiver and Aaron Murray's favorite target.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Bennett appears to be progressing well with his rehab, according to Mark Richt.
"He's doing very well. He's got a very good attitude, and (associate athletic director for sports medicine) Ron (Courson) feels that he's making great progress." Mark Richt - AJC.com
During his two years, Bennett has proven himself to be a sure-handed receiver who is able to make tough catches in traffic. Expect more of the same from this talented junior in 2013.
1. Malcolm Mitchell
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Malcolm Mitchell has the potential to be one of the best wide receivers in the SEC next season.
His strength and speed make him difficult to cover, and he will finally have an entire offseason to focus on playing offense, which he missed last season when he was moved to cornerback to start the year.
Mitchell will have the opportunity to improve his timing with Aaron Murray and develop his route-running skills.
Even while focusing his attention on playing two positions for part of the year in 2012, Mitchell finished the season as the team's second-leading receiver with 40 receptions for 572 yards.
Now it's time for Mitchell to emerge as Georgia's top threat at wide receiver.