Aaron Murray has done just about everything a quarterback can do at his school. But there is still a lot more he can accomplish. Understanding that fact, Murray announced via Twitter that he will be staying in Athens for his senior year.
“Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet,” Murray tweeted. “Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship.”
In throwing for 3,893 yards, the junior became the first passer to throw for more than 3,000 yards in each of his first three seasons under center.
He set school bowl game records against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl after throwing for 427 yards, five touchdowns, and an 87-yard scoring strike that proved to be the longest in Georgia postseason history.
In tossing 36 touchdown passes, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Tampa Bay native moved to 95 on his career, most in the history of Georgia football and second all-time in the SEC. He currently ranks just behind Heisman Trophy and National Championship winner Danny Wuerffel’s 114.
But there, of course, lies the problem: Wuerffel not only has the Heisman, awarded annually to the nation’s top player, but far more importantly, he has the championship trophy.
A piece of hardware Murray’s Dawgs came so close to competing against Notre Dame for this season. In the SEC Championship game, Georgia nearly pulled off the upset of mighty Alabama, losing 32-28 as the team’s final drive came up literally five yards short.
In making the decision to come back for a final go-around, Murray not only gives himself the chance to break all the passing records, but to do so on the nation’s biggest stage, the BCS title game.
According to cfbstats.com, former Georgia quarterback David Greene holds the SEC career passing yardage record with 11,528 yards, just 1,437 ahead of Murray’s three-year total. With 696 career completions, he is 199 away from Florida quarterback Chris Leak’s record of 895. And with 1,131 career attempts, Murray trails Kentucky quarterback Jared Lorenzen’s SEC record by 383 passes.
Beyond the records and the title chase, Murray spoke with the NFL’s draft advisory board, who informed the quarterback that he would likely be a second- to third-round selection should he choose to enter the draft this year.
The hope is that a return to college for one more season will help bump him up into the first-round range, but it would be bucking a historical trend to do so — despite all the records.
According to ESPN, in the last 25 years, 57 quarterbacks have been taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, and only three have been 6-foot-1 or shorter: Rex Grossman of Florida, Michael Vick of Virginia Tech, and Cade McNown of UCLA.
“The height thing is going to be the big factor in terms of how he’s viewed by the NFL,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said last month. “Is he going to be 6 feet or a little over?”
Currently, Russel Wilson of Seattle is making waves as an under-6-foot dynamo, but he utilizes his speed both in and out of the pocket to make plays. The man Murray can most easily point towards in terms of a successful run against the biggest and the best is New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Brees was taken with the first pick in the second round by San Diego, and he measured in at the combine at just a shade over 6-even.
“It’s a tough call, and it really boils down to, ‘Where is he?’ ” Kiper said last month of Murray’s impending NFL decision. “He’s played a lot of football at Georgia. It seems like he’s been there forever. If he comes out, I think he will be in the second- or third-round discussion, but if he wants to be a first-round pick and improve his stock, you go back.
“It really depends on where he is in terms of his career and where he is in terms of whether he wants to move on into the NFL and take his chances.”
Now, Kiper and all of Dawgs Nation knows were Murray stands on whether or not he wants to move on the NFL.
He wants to stay in Athens. He wants to break every SEC passing record there is en route to winning everything he possibly can — an SEC Championship, and a BCS title.
Maybe, just maybe, after he officially becomes the most prolific passer in the history of the nation’s most dominant conference, an NFL team will deem him worthy of a first-round selection.