Georgia quarterback Hutson Mason has big shoes to fill in Athens, and he's filling them sooner than he anticipated.
Mason—a redshirt junior from Marietta, Ga.—was pressed into action late in the first half of Georgia's 59-17 win over Kentucky on Saturday night after starter Aaron Murray left with a knee injury.
According to Marc Weiszer of the Athens (Ga.) Banner-Herald, Murray tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season:
Georgia QB Aaron Murray will have surgery to repair an ACL injury on Tuesday, his mother posted on social media.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) November 24, 2013
It's a terrible way to end a record-setting career for Murray, and hopefully he'll recover quickly and continue his career at the next level.
Mason was as shocked as anyone about Murray's injury.
"You're kind of in shell shock. And then you're like: Oh I gotta get ready," Mason told Seth Emerson of the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.
Mason completed 13 of 19 passes for 189 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions and one touchdown run against the Wildcats in the first prolonged action of his career.
"I think that it's good to get out there in a game like this—this is probably the first time I've played in something other than a 'spring-like' crowd," Mason said in quotes released by Georgia. "I think this is good because it helps me get out my first-game jitters."
So who is Hutson Mason?
He came to Georgia as a 3-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite from Lassiter High School in Marietta in the class of 2010. He has completed 62.2 percent of his passes during his Georgia career (51-of-82) for 705 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Like Murray, Mason is accurate, gets the ball out on time and makes smart decisions under pressure.
He's been Murray's understudy since his true freshman season in 2010, has seen spot duty throughout his career and chose to take a redshirt as a junior in 2012 in order to get one year as a starter after Murray's departure.
"He's been practicing well for a long time but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities," head coach Mark Richt said in quotes released by Georgia. "For him to get playing time and to play well was good to see. ... He's a sharp kid and he knows our system. We have a lot of faith in his abilities."
Mason will presumably take control of the offense in Georgia's regular-season finale against Georgia Tech and in a bowl game. Georgia obviously would rather have Murray out there for the final two games of the season, but now starting won't be a foreign feeling to Mason when he takes the field to open the 2014 season.
That's big for Georgia's 2014 outlook, because the Bulldogs open with Clemson at home and will travel to South Carolina in Week 3 in a game that typically carries enormous SEC East ramifications.