American comedian and actor Rodney Dangerfield made popular the catchphrase "I don't get no respect!" His comedy album, No Respect, won a Grammy Award in 1981. Although the album was released nine years before Aaron Murray was born, it readily applies to him today.
For all he has accomplished, Murray gets no respect!
It wasn't always this way for Murray. In fact, Murray was one of the nation's top recruits coming out of high school in 2009. He was ranked as the nation’s No. 3 quarterback by both Rivals and Scout. They only listed Matt Barkley (USC) and Garrett Gilbert (Texas) above him.
During his junior season at Plant High School, Murray completed 201 of 329 passing attempts for 4,012 yards. He passed for 51 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. His senior season he completed 118 of 195 passes for 2,285 yards and 33 touchdowns to only five interceptions.
His numbers took a dip his senior season because he only played in eight games. Midway through the season, Murray suffered a broken leg. He was supposed to be out for the remainder of the season.
However, after watching his team struggle to win its first two games of the playoffs, he courageously returned in time for the semifinal game and 4A championship game.
Despite being in obvious pain and discomfort, Murray led Plant High School to a 34-14 win over Lincoln High School in the championship. Murray was limping during the game, but he was also amazing as he threw three touchdown passes, two of which were good for 72 yards.
Murray's statistical success did not cease in high school. As quarterback for the University of Georgia, Murray has thrown for 10,901 yards and 95 touchdowns in three seasons and is the only quarterback in SEC history to throw for 3,000 yards in three seasons.
If Murray matches his averages from his first three seasons, he will not only break several SEC records, but he will shatter them.
He only needs 19 touchdown passes to catch former Florida QB Danny Wuerffel's career touchdown record. Murray only trails Tim Tebow's total yards gained by 1,939 yards. With another 199 completions, he will tie Florida’s Chris Leak SEC career completion record. Moreover, he only needs 627 passing yards to match former UGA great David Greene's SEC career passing record.
In other words, Murray will have a statistical career like no quarterback in SEC history. Yet he still gets no respect.
It certainly is not his off-field behavior. Murray is a model citizen who graduated in three-and-a-half years with a double major and a 3.5 grade-point average and is now working toward is PhD.
What has haunted Murray's legacy is the notion that he is not as good in big games and that he has not won an SEC championship. However, I am convinced he has begun to disprove the first notion and in his final season at Georgia could finally break through and win his first SEC championship.
In my opinion, the change for Murray began in the second half of last season's game against the Florida Gators. He struggled mightily in the first half. However, he stayed patient and was very efficient in the final minutes of that game, including hitting Malcolm Mitchell for a win-clinching 45-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Murray continued to show his toughness in the SEC Championship Game when Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial made one of the most controversial hits of the season on Murray. No one would have blamed Murray had he called it a night, but he stepped up to the plate, and Georgia fell five yards short of a national championship birth.
Murray finished the season by breaking a Georgia bowl record with five touchdown passes and threw for 427 yards overall to earn Capital One Bowl MVP honors in a 45-31 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who entered the game with the nation's top pass defense
As a result, Murray will enter the season favored to break most SEC passing records. He'll lead a team with a top-five ranking and two SEC East divisional championships, and he'll have no respect.
However, if Murray can lead the Bulldogs to an SEC championship and possible BCS national championship, he will go down as one of the top quarterbacks in SEC history. If he doesn't, his brilliant career will not be remembered with the prestige that he deserves.
The road will not be easy for Murray, but Murray is ready. With the best running back unit in college football, undeniable depth at wide receiver and his whole offensive line back, Murray and the Bulldogs have the potential to make it back to the SEC Championship Game and finish the drill.
Murray came back for his senior year, and he is not leaving until he gets his respect!
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