Georgia Football: What Is Aaron Murray's Bulldog Legacy?

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor INovember 7, 2013

Oct 12, 2013; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) walks in to the stadium during the Dawgwalk prior to the game against the Missouri Tigers at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Murray has at least five games left before his college career comes to an end.

He wanted to leave Athens with a chance to win the BCS title. That won’t happen because of the Bulldogs having three losses. But they still have an outside shot of winning the SEC if they win out and Missouri loses two more SEC games.

If that happens and Murray leads the team to a win in the Georgia Dome in December, he will cement his legacy as one of the greatest Bulldogs to ever wear the red and black.

Again, there’s a good chance that won’t happen. But Murray will still be known as the most prolific passer in SEC history.

Nov 2, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11) calls a play back to running back Todd Gurley (3) against the Florida Gators during the second half at EverBank Field. Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Florida Gators 23-20.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

So the question is this: What is Murray’s Bulldog legacy?

When looking at Murray, he has to be compared to other great UGA quarterbacks. The first that comes to mind is Fran Tarkenton. He was more known for his play in the NFL, but Tarkenton was no slouch for the Bulldogs, as he led the 1959 team to a SEC title and was also an All-American.

Fast forward a couple decades, and Buck Belue is another quarterback that has a great legacy. He was not an All-American athlete, but he led the Bulldogs to a national title in 1980 and an SEC title in 1981.
Eric Zeier did not win a lot of ball games for the Bulldogs, but he did leave as the SEC’s all-time leading passer in 1994. In that same year, he was named to the American Football Coaches Association First-Team All-America squad.

Zeier’s passing record would be broken by Peyton Manning a few years later, which would be broken again by Georgia’s David Greene. Like Belue, Greene did not get a lot of individual awards, but he won a lot of ballgames, including the SEC Championship and the Sugar Bowl in 2002.

Greene was named conference Rookie of the Year in 2001 and Offensive Player of the Year in 2002. And he left Athens 42 wins, which made him the winningest quarterback in college football history.

Matthew Stafford was one of the top prospects coming out of high school and had his share of adversity his freshman year (seven touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2006). However, he led the Bulldogs to a Sugar Bowl in 2007 and threw 25 touchdown passes in 2008, which was a school record at the time.

Aaron Murray's Career Stats
StatTotalSEC Rank
Passing Yards12,0291st
Passing Touchdowns1132nd
Total Offense12,3271st

All these quarterbacks had success individually and/or from a team perspective. So when looking at Murray and his legacy, he will go down as one of the greats to play for the Bulldogs.

It’s not because he has broken plenty of SEC and school records or that he has won a total of 33 games in three and a half seasons. He will go down as one of the all-time greats because he worked hard to eliminate his perception.

Despite what happens this season, he has proven that he can win the big games. He can carry a team on his back. He is a born leader, and with returning for his senior year instead of taking the money and running, he showed his love for the University of Georgia.

It also doesn’t hurt that he was 3-1 against Florida.

The loss against Alabama last year will be something fans bring up when talking about Murray. They will say that he had a chance to win the SEC title and play for the BCS Championship, but he came up short.

That may be true, but the reality is Murray was closer to a national title then Zeier, Greene or Stafford ever was. And if it wasn’t for his play in the SEC game (18-of-33, 265 yards, one touchdown and one interception), Alabama would have more than likely blown the Bulldogs out.

The legacy of Murray is still being written because they are at least five games left to be played. But if anyone says that Murray is not a UGA all-time great, then they are sorely mistaken.