Georgia Football: Aaron Murray Is Still the SEC's Top Dawg

Dr. SEC@thedrsecAnalyst IISeptember 28, 2011

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs reacts after passing for a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Sanford Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Aaron 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. If all three quarterbacks keep their current pace, Murray is likely to have the best career of the three.

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. Murray was supposed to be out for the remainder of the season.

However, after watching his team struggle to win their first two games of the playoffs, he courageously returned in time for their semi-final 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 game. Murray was limping during the game, but he was also amazing as he threw three touchdown passes that were completed for scores of 72 yards, 14 yards, and 72 yards. Two of the three touchdown passes went to current Georgia teammate Orson Charles.

With that background, it is clear why expectations were so high for Murray when he arrived in Athens, GA.

Upon coming to Athens, Murray suffered a minor setback with a muscle tear in his arm. The weeks he missed led to head coach Mark Richt deciding to redshirt him so that a year was not wasted.

Murray entered the 2010 season labeled as the only unknown on the Georgia offense. The team returned ten starters. However, as you well know, AJ Green would end up being suspended his first four games.

Murray would still excel at quarterback as he finished the season with over 3,000 yards passing, 28 total touchdowns and only eight interceptions.

The 2010 UGA season was a disappointment, but Aaron Murray was as good as advertised.

Entering the 2011 season, things had switched dramatically. Now, Murray was one of the few proven commodities for the Bulldogs offense. Murray would have to work with a patched-up offensive line, new running backs and new wide receivers.

Despite all of this, Murray has put up impressive numbers. He has completed 70 of 110 passes for 940 yards and 13 total touchdowns to only three interceptions. Moreover, two of Murray’s three interceptions were clearly not his fault.  

What has been the general consensus of this tremendous body of work? Many have talked of Murray struggling and not matching the hype. Whenever I read such an article or post, it clearly demonstrates either a bias or a lack of actual football experience.

Murray’s stats would be impressive in any situation. However, when you consider the strength of schedule the Bulldogs had to start the season, and how the team lacked proven players at wide receiver and running back, it makes it that much more impressive.

Moreover, consider that the current leaders in receiving and rushing for UGA are both true freshmen. Yet, he has still completed 64 percent of his passes.

Now, the media wants to hype players like Tennessee's Tyler Bray. While Bray has had a good start to the season, his first two games were against Montana and Cincinnati. That's not exactly Boise State and South Carolina.

We had a chance to watch Bray in his first start against a legit SEC school two weeks ago when the Volunteers squared off against the University of Florida

Bray had 22 incompletions and two interceptions. Had the Gators defensive players caught any of the passes that hit them directly in the hands, they would have had a minimum of five interceptions.

Bray has a lot of potential. However, with only one start outside of Tennessee, he is not yet on the level of Murray. There are other names that have been tossed around. However, none of them have shown the consistency and talent of Murray.

Murray is not a quarterback who has stuffed his stat sheet against cupcakes. Consider that in SEC play, Aaron Murray has 21 total touchdowns and only six interceptions.

That's impressive.


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