Aaron Murray may be playing his final game for Georgia

Aaron Murray hasn't told Mark Richt or anybody if this is his final game. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC)

Aaron Murray and Mark Richt have been together for three seasons. This may be it. (Brant Sanderlin)

ORLANDO – Before this season began, Aaron Murray set a plan for the next two years — not for football, but for a doctorate program in industrial-organizational psychology. Call it an academic and career game plan.

“It’s a pretty big field nowadays,” Murray said in August. “A lot of companies are hiring I-O psychologists.”

Aaron Murray plays a football game Tuesday. There is a very good chance it will be his final football game for Georgia.

This is pure conjecture on my part. It is based on the fact that Murray, as much as he loves college football, has other things going on in his life. He has other things he wants to try. He’s a different kid.

“You mean mature?” Murray said, smiling.

“No,” I responded. (He laughed. Know your audience.)

I presented my theory to Murray, that Georgia’s game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl would be the end of this chapter in his life. I asked him if my read on him, his mindset and aspirations was correct. He responded without actually answering.

“I definitely have other things [I want to do],” he said. “My whole life, my mom has talked to us about setting goals and thinking about what we want to do in our life. So I’m a very goal-driven person. But I can’t predict the future. I can only live day by day.”

So are you going into this game with the thought that it could be your final game at Georgia?

“No. It’s just another game. I prepare hard for all of them.”

Never try to out-think a psychology major.

Murray is the first quarterback in SEC history to have three straight 3,000-yard passing seasons. In the last two years, he has thrown 66 touchdowns against 22 interceptions, won two SEC East titles and went 21-6. Four weeks ago against Alabama, he and the Bulldogs came within one tipped pass of going to the BCS championship game instead of the Capital One Bowl.

His biggest problems have come in the postseason, with two SEC title losses (to LSU and Alabama) and two bowl game losses (to Central Florida as a freshman and Michigan State last season). If Murray decides to come back, it will be because conference and national championships have eluded him.

I’m just not sure that’s going to do it.

Could he improve his NFL draft stock by coming back? Probably. He battled some consistency problems this season, as evidenced by his completion percentages against South Carolina (35.5), Florida (50) and Alabama (54.5), and his five interceptions in those three games. But this also is considered a weak draft class for quarterbacks. Sometimes an extra season leads NFL scouts to find more flaws. There’s also the potential for injury.

But the potential for improving his draft stock — and right now he’s projected as high as a late first-rounder but more likely second or third round –  may not be a big deal for Murray He already has his career blueprint: college football, NFL, I/O psychology.

Save the absence of a conference title and playing for a national championship, Murray has experienced as much as any college football quarterback can expect. He stepped in with Georgia at the bottom, going 6-7, losing to Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl in 2010, and then starting 0-2 in 2011. He was there for the program’s turnaround (21-4 since).

With Georgia losing so many players on defense, it’s debatable how strong the Dogs’ chance will be next season.

Murray recently said the loss to Alabama was causing him sleepless nights. On Saturday, he provided this update: “It’s out of my mind now. But I’ll always have memories of it. That game will be replayed on TV for many years.”

He joked that when he’s in retirement, “Maybe by then I’ll figure out a way to tell everybody we actually won the game.”

The next game hasn’t had the same buildup. It won’t have the same ramifications. But a win likely would leave the Dogs as a top-five ranked team and finally allow Murray to end the season with a victory.

“I have yet to win a bowl game, so this is my opportunity to hopefully finally win one and send the seniors off,” he said.

And possibly himself.

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259 comments Add your comment

F. Sinkwich

December 30th, 2012
11:54 am

Best wishes, Aaron, whatever you decide…

Not Disappointed

December 30th, 2012
11:55 am

He needs another year at Georgia and I’m a die hard Ga Tech Fan!
Best wishes regardless!

JSS

December 30th, 2012
12:04 pm

Who in the world is advising Murray? Dang, it is a terrible year college QBs entering the draft, but he’s nowhere near ready… SMDH…

dawggirl

December 30th, 2012
12:12 pm

I am in the industry he has chosen. My company does leadership development and executive coaching. It is definitely a growing field. He’ll be absolutely fine either way. I do hope he comes back for another year, though. I’m not ready for the transition. I’ve had to endure way too many personal “transitions” over the last couple of months.

Best of wishes to Aaron Murray, and special wishes for his father and hoping he is cancer-free.

Jason

December 30th, 2012
12:15 pm

I don’t think he’s leaving. He knows he can lead UGA to an SEC title and possibly a national title if he comes back one more year. What better way to leave UGA than an SEC champion and possibly national champion. UGA will start next season in the top 5 and have a very good shot at it. He says he’s all about championships, he hasn’t done that yet. I think he’ll be back. He also has a chance to shatter some SEC records.

Jason

December 30th, 2012
12:16 pm

Of course Tech fans are hoping he doesn’t come back with the way he’s shredded them the past 3 seasons. LMAO

Big Dawg Sani

December 30th, 2012
12:22 pm

He aint goin anywhere

Rick James

December 30th, 2012
12:27 pm

He needs another year but I’m being selfish..I’m sure GT Bob knows what he should do,he knows everything about Georgia football and its players.However he hates the program.Best of luck with his decision..

sogadog

December 30th, 2012
12:30 pm

Murray was toying with you. I predict he will be back to take one more shot at an SEC championship and national championship. After all, his mom taught him to be goal oriented and those are two big goals he has not yet achieved.

joe jenkins

December 30th, 2012
12:39 pm

I think he should stay. Our real question mark will be if our run defense can hold any top 50 rush offense under 300 yards rushing

Paul in NH

December 30th, 2012
12:39 pm

Some underclassmen need another year in college and some don’t. Aaron Murray is in the first group and Jarvis Jones is in the second.

Game Changer

December 30th, 2012
12:39 pm

(Murray made promise to leave)??, giving Mason comfort in staying at UGA and not transferring. Murray will not recieve any guaranteed money from the draft making his decision to leave tough. If A Murray goes the pro route he may never play in another football game. Many of the offensive players returning to UGA want H Mason to be the QB going into 2013. A Murray has given his all and for that I am very appreciative, but it is time to turn the page and move forward with Mason and others.

MurrayFan

December 30th, 2012
12:41 pm

Aaron Murray will do well no matter what he chooses to do. I am a Florida native now living in Georgia, and have been following him since his high school days in Tampa when he led his team to a state championship after enduring and recovering from a broken leg that same year. By the way, not much is said about it, but the guy is quite mobile and “deceptively” quick. I do hope he returns next year–he can move closer to that Ph.D. that no one can take away from him when achieved, and hone his QB/leadership skills as well.

Paul in NH

December 30th, 2012
12:42 pm

“Sometimes an extra season leads NFL scouts to find more flaws.”

That certainly happened with Dan Marino – how else would Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien get drafted ahead of him – but Aaron Murray is no Dan Marino.

davidinloganville

December 30th, 2012
12:56 pm

So Paul in NH who is Dan Marino in this draft?

Bill Stanfill

December 30th, 2012
1:01 pm

Aaron Murray has a good spirit. He has been very durable even though he has taken some viscious hits. He prepares thoroughly for every game. He doesn’t pout, go through sullen moods, lash out at anybody (even opponents who have taken cheap hits on him). He bounces back. He’s prepared himself for a post-football career. He’s a fighter but also keeps a healthy perspective.

Maybe he goes on to the NFL (and I think he’ll go higher in the draft than most people think–probably late 2nd round). But he has been a real credit to UGA and college football.

Destin Dawg

December 30th, 2012
1:28 pm

Murray is a smart kid and DGD…. best of luck either way.. maybe should go this year if he has all the college degrees he can get ???

bwell

December 30th, 2012
1:30 pm

I think AM will back. His stock needs to improve. If he had won half the BIG games, maybe he could leave. But if he couldn’t win those games, how will he win in the NFL. I think the pschology major come back for another year…… to prove people wrong and be a top 5 draft pick next year.

SEC

December 30th, 2012
1:35 pm

You have to beat the WEST to win a championship, LSU, Texas A&M or Bama will win the SEC.

Disgusted

December 30th, 2012
1:36 pm

Good riddance loser. We need a QB who can win big games around here.

Like Stafford, big hype low on big wins.

Disgusted

December 30th, 2012
1:38 pm

David Greene and D.J Shockley > college QBs than Stafford and Murray could ever hope to be.

Daddo

December 30th, 2012
1:44 pm

Georgia has a chance at a national championship in 2013? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…just delusional.

Dr. Heimlich

December 30th, 2012
1:48 pm

I hope Murray returns to UGA next season. I am a huge fan of his choking skills.

Matt the Brave

December 30th, 2012
1:51 pm

I’ve been keeping an eye out on the draft blogs, and most have Murray going later than the 3rd round this year, but up in the top 10 if he were to go next year. This isn’t because he’s going to be all that much better next year (although he could be), but rather next year’s draft class is much weaker. Hope he comes back, but I can understand if he does go to the draft.

Rick James

December 30th, 2012
2:04 pm

@Dr. Heimlich

I hope Murray returns to UGA next season. I am a huge fan of his choking skills.
———————————————————————————————————-
Give us an examble of him choking against Tech..Losing to better teams is not choking.Losing a game where your opponent’s defensive line out plays your offensive line is not choking.I guess in the 21 wins he’s played in over the past two years the opposing teams choked.Choking is losing to BYU and MSTU at home. Did Tech choke in Athens this season or was Georgia just better?

roughrider

December 30th, 2012
2:15 pm

We need some stud linemen on both sides of the ball before we even think on a NC.

Vampire Bill

December 30th, 2012
2:16 pm

My thought is that AM has no shot at any type of a NFL career other than a scout team QB much like John Parker Wilson.

But then, who would of predicted Blair Walsh would go to the Pro Bowl in his rookie season?

Regardless, he’s a fine young man and a DGD, so glad he played for the dawgs.

Red Stick

December 30th, 2012
2:22 pm

I think this season he had a better chance of winning the SEC than next season. In 2013 the schedule is tougher with Clemson and LSU added while there are significant losses on defense.

I don’t see how he can improve his draft stock.

Many schools would have loved to have had him the last 3 seasons. I wish him the best.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 30th, 2012
2:25 pm

Rick James, you speak the truth man. Tech fans’ jealousy of Georgia success never ceases to amaze me. Aaron Murray has been absolutely brilliant against Georgia Tech. I thought Tech fans were supposed to be smart? But hey, there are jerks in every fan base and some cool ones who support the Jackets as well. To the Tech fans who feel like talking about how “horrible” Murray is, here are his stats against the Jackets in his three years:

2010: 15-19, 271 yards 3 TD 0 INT
2011: 19-29, 252 yards 4 TD 1 INT & 22 rushing yards
2012: 14-17, 215 yards 2 TD 0 INT, 82% completion percentage despite getting the fourth quarter off.

Hit 'em again, harder, harder

December 30th, 2012
2:26 pm

Doesn’t matter either way – He and Richt can’t win the big ones!

Crimson Pride

December 30th, 2012
2:31 pm

Anyone who says Aaron Murray “choked” against my Tide is either an idiot or just trying to stir up the Georgia fans. That kid played one heck of a game and I would say he was the best quarterback we played with the exception of Manziel, who is just a freak of a player. I hope Murray comes back for another year, because he seems like a good guy. He did not choke, because he played well against the best defense he had faced all year. Even most Alabama sportswriters and fans were talking about how he exceeded expectations and/or really impressed him. The kid hit several deep balls down field despite facing pressure.

graphite

December 30th, 2012
2:33 pm

It doesn’t matter who your Q.B. is, the Tide will beat you every time… RollOn..

dawggirl

December 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

<>
And you know this how?

Crimson Pride

December 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

Hit ‘em, if you say Murray and Richt can’t win the big games you are disrespecting Alabama’s team and Coach Saban since we had to hang out to beat the Dogs. How about saying Georgia lost to a slightly better team with the best coach in college football? That does not constitute “choking” it means they are like 95% of the teams that have faced the Tide the past 4 years. Face it, Georgia is very, very good, Alabama is just elite. I’m assuming you don’t know much about football.

dawggirl

December 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

“Many of the offensive players returning to UGA want H Mason to be the QB going into 2013.”

My comment didn’t post above – this is what I was referring to.

Pitbull

December 30th, 2012
2:41 pm

Aaron Murray may be playing his final game for Georgia

I hope not. He is one of the best QB’s we have ever had at UGA and he will only get better in his 4th year of eligibility.

The QB always gets too much credit when you win and too much blame when you lose. But Aaron has been a special player for UGA and I hope he stays.

PS I love the SEC but can’t pull for Bama against ND. Their fans are just too obnoxious and they need to be beat down. Perhaps ND can pull a Utah on the Tide.

1969 Graduate

December 30th, 2012
2:41 pm

He strikes me as a guy who has a lot of sense. I hope he comes back for another year as our QB. Either way, best of luck to him.

Mr. Murray is a smart fellow, an athlete, a true student of the game, and a gym rat, too. Should he return for another year at Georgia I think he will be better still than he was this year. Other than Johnny Football I’d have a hard time thinking of a quarterback I’d trade him for.

Go, Dawgs! Go, SEC!

Destin Dawg

December 30th, 2012
2:44 pm

Richt is 2 for 3 vs. Saban in the SEC… Saban going pro after the bowl game.

Destin Dawg

December 30th, 2012
2:46 pm

bama will beat ND.. not even close…. 31 to 17 or so… Go dawgs.. beat Nebraska !!!

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 30th, 2012
2:47 pm

Crimson is dead on. It’s sad anyone who doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations set by the Tide is a failure. Kind of like comparing everybody else to USC back in the mid-2000s when Carroll was beating everyone. By that logic, if Georgia is a failure because they couldn’t beat Alabama or win the SEC, I guess we will say Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, South Carolina, and LSU are all failures as well because they aren’t playing for the national championship. Some people are clueless. But hey, people can keep hating on the dawgs, I’ll take the 11-2 season and bragging rights over a solid Gators team, and our hating little brother Yellow Jackets and Auburn and the Georgia bashers can all sit here and obsess like fools about how Georgia is some failure. I’m sorry I don’t subscribe to that kind of delusional thinking.

Ben

December 30th, 2012
2:51 pm

Murray should come back. It is possible he may never start an NFL game. If he comes back his name will be right at the top of career NCAA stats, and for the next 20 years whenever a NCAA QB is having a great career, Murray would be mentioned.
Also UGA should have an awesome offense next year.

Dr. Heimlich

December 30th, 2012
2:51 pm

Why does Georgia even play Tech? It is a no win situation…win and so what…lose, and you will be ridiculed…i’m guessing Tech stays on the schedule because they always have much less talent than the mighty Bulldogs….it’s like if Bama played UAB every season, beat the stuffing out of them, and then bragged the rest of the year about owning UAB…know what d/a’s, you are supposed to own them…idiots…

tony

December 30th, 2012
2:52 pm

It’s going to be interesting to see where Aaron get drafted because Kellen Moore had a better college career but didn’t get drafted. Good luck to the young man though.

Moore – 1st 3 Seasons INT 19 PCT.683 TD 99 YDS 10,867 Rating 167

Murray – 3 Seasons INT 30 PCT .678 TD 90 YDS 9664 Rating 158 (bowl game not included)

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 30th, 2012
2:55 pm

I don’t see Saban leaving for the NFL. He’s getting so much money already that it will only be for a challenge if he leaves. And he has already coached in the NFL before and did not have as much success (though he did coach for a bad franchise without a good quarterback). Why would he leave?

bubba4dawgs

December 30th, 2012
3:01 pm

Crimson Pride, you are absolutely correct! UGA is a good football team and Alabama is elite! It almost happened and I feel sure Sabin was glad that game was over and that he dodged a bullet. It’s sickening to see all these know it alls putting UGA down over losing to Alabama especially when their team couldn’t even stay on the same field as Bama.

Herman from Mineral Bluff

December 30th, 2012
3:01 pm

Georgia has a top 8 record the last two seasons. Bama, LSU, SCarolina, Oregon, Boise, Kansas St., Stanford are the other seven. Bama is 3-2 vs. the other seven. LSU is 4-2. SCarolina is 2-1. Boise is 1-0. Oregon is 1-2. Stanford is 1-1. KState plays its first top 8 opponent in the Fiesta Bowl vs. Oregon.

GEORGIA IS 0 – 5.

A RECORD BUILT ON CUPCAKES.

YOU AIN’T A BIG BOY UNLESS YOU CAN BEAT THE BIG BOYS.

NUFF SAID.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 30th, 2012
3:10 pm

It’s a joke that Tech fans are on a Georgia board talking about Murray and Georgia aren’t good when their team got hammered by Georgia. Get a life and cheer on your own team.

Crimson Pride

December 30th, 2012
3:13 pm

Herman, you are an idiot. If Georgia wasn’t good enough to play with the big boys, they wouldn’t have played so well against Alabama. Obviously, I’m ecstatic about winning that game, but to go on a blog and criticize Georgia for losing to the best team in the country makes you look like an ignorant moron. Just saying. I’m guessing you are a Georgia Tech or Auburn fan.

Crimson Pride

December 30th, 2012
3:18 pm

Coach Saban himself lobbied for Georgia to be in a BCS bowl. Tons of fellow Alabama fans ackowledged they were impressed by Georgia. It’s amazigng these childish immature nerds on here seem so focused on talking about how Georgia is a failure. With the exception of Texas A&M (who we would have beaten if we hadn’t played so sloppy in the first quarter), Georgia is the best team our guys have played. They’ve got a really good quarterback and a solid program. It’s very disrespectful to me and my fellow Alabama fans to say that we won because Georgia “choked”. How about we were just a little bit better? Some people are such fools.

Name: (required)

December 30th, 2012
3:20 pm

He should go for the draft. UGA isn’t going to make it to the Big Game next season considering the graduations, expected early draftees, and Richt still at the helm. Rather than risk getting injured and never playing again, Murray needs to cash in his stock while it’s still high. Sucks, but it’s the nature of football at this point in time.