Hutson Mason suddenly in middle of Georgia QB race

Record-setting quarterback Hutson Mason is still a senior at Lassiter High School but he's already the No. 3 quarterback on the Georgia Bulldogs' roster for next season. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Record-setting quarterback Hutson Mason is still a senior at Lassiter High School but he's already No. 3 on the Georgia Bulldogs' depth chart for next season and looking to move up. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Lassiter senior Hutson Mason will be enrolled at the University of Georgia in less than six weeks. For the Bulldogs that may be just in the nick of time.

Thanks to the disciplinary dismissal of redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Mason has gone in a half-year from late-offer prospect to third-string quarterback for the Bulldogs. Only two players — redshirt junior Logan Gray and redshirt freshman Aaron Murray — now stand above him on Georgia’s QB depth chart.

A February signee, Mason will officially join the quarterback competition when he moves to Athens to start summer classes on May 31.

The whole thing has made for a bittersweet weekend of conflicting emotions for Mason, who calls Mettenberger his closest friend on the team. Mettenberger was his host on his official visit to Georgia and Mason stayed with him almost every time he came to Athens since then, which was often. They talked and texted all the time.

“We were really close,” Mason said on Sunday. “I feel bad for Zach. The way I look at it is Zach made a bad decision. He’s not perfect; we all make bad decisions. Zach just made a mistake and unfortunately the mistake he made is one that got him kicked off. It’s unbelievable.  But you just have to take it and make the best of it.

“Once you get to college it’s kind of a job. Every single player in college football is out for themselves. So now it just opens up a door for me. It opens up a door for Aaron. It opens up a door for Logan.”

Mettenberger, a graduate of Oconee County High, was already suspended for the opening game of next season for an alcohol-related arrest in Valdosta over spring break. But he continued to practice with the team and had the most impressive performance of the three quarterbacks in the G-Day game, completing six of 10 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns with the No. 2 offense.

“Zach is going to play football, there’s no question about that,” said Mason, who has not tried to contact his friend since the news of his dismissal broke on Sunday. “He’ll have a chance to go play at a big school. He’s too good of a quarterback to go play I-AA or something like that. He’ll go to some big-time school, sit out a year and he’ll play again. It’s not all over for him. He’s still got a bright future.”

Mason’s prospects definitely have improved. Though he has always talked about competing for playing time right away at Georgia, Mason was generally considered a strong candidate to redshirt as a freshman. Now as the No. 3 guy he’ll have to be counted on to play.

The Bulldogs did not sign any other quarterbacks in their last class. They are expected to add at least two walk-on quarterbacks, including Wayne County’s Parker Welch, who will room with Mason.

“My work ethic isn’t going to change,” Mason said. “I wasn’t worried about the depth chart before Zach got kicked off. I’m just worried about busting my butt every day and trying to get better. I’m trying to learn the playbook, trying to get stronger.”

The 6-foot-3 Mason is up to 195 pounds thanks to an intense training regimen that at one time included boxing. But it hasn’t all been physical work.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo sent Mason a playbook shortly after he signed. Since then Mason has studied it diligently with his father and Dave Archer, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and Mason’s part-time instructor.

Once he gets to Athens, Mason said he will work closely with Johnathan Batson, a former Georgia walkon who completed his eligibility but remains in school.

“I’ll be responsible from Day One for knowing protections, formations, shifts and motions and stuff like that,” Mason said. “It’ll probably be pretty up-tempo, pretty intense and pretty quick.”

Mason believes he’s up for the challenge. The AJC Class AAAAA Player of the Year set single-season state records for passing yards (4,560) and touchdown passes (54) at Lassiter. He’s understandably confident in his abilities.

“This is what you live for really,” he said. “This is why I play football. I have absolutely all the confidence in the world in myself. I hope I do get called upon, I hope my number does get called. I’m a competitor and I know for a fact I’ll be ready when my number does get called.

“Words can’t describe the opportunity I have. If it comes as a true freshman, stepping out there in front of 92,000, I would’ve never dreamed that. But I’ll be ready for it.”

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81 comments Add your comment

Daily Links 19Apr: Leather Helmet Blog

April 19th, 2010
5:46 am

[...] words to remember – Hutson Mason. «This is what you live for really,» he said. «This is why I play football. I have absolutely all the confidence in the [...]

Czar

April 19th, 2010
6:34 am

Wow, this kid must be better than Joe Flacco, Steve McNair, Kurt Warner, Rich Gannon, Doug Williams, Ron Jaworski, Tony Romo, and others who weren’t “too good of a quarterback to go play I-AA or something”

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 19th, 2010
7:10 am

i posted this on JS blog- Murray is your starter, Gray backup, Mason 3rd string. Mason will get his chance is 2011 along with a highly touted QB recruit that UGA will sign.

hiveredtech

April 19th, 2010
7:38 am

wow…not what you like to hear from your incoming QB.

“Once you get to college it’s kind of a job. Every single player in college football is out for themselves.”

They are going to love him in the lccker room!

Frank

April 19th, 2010
7:48 am

hiveredtech, I guess Dwyer, Morgan, Thomas and Burnett were not out for themselves and were totally into what is best for gtu?

THWGT!!!!!

RomeDawg

April 19th, 2010
7:50 am

Czar,

These are the words of an 18 year old kid. Don’t take it so offensive. I believe we all would agree the superior talent is NOT in 1-AA. I think he was just stating the obvious. For every Tony Romo or Ron Jaworski there are three Drew Brees or Joe Montana’s.

hiveredtech

April 19th, 2010
8:32 am

Frank…your response is foolish.

QBtroubleNOW

April 19th, 2010
8:48 am

Oh my! If this is the answer at QB, it could get
ugly real fast. JMHO people. This dawg already knew
it was going to be a long season. It just got longer!

paul

April 19th, 2010
8:57 am

Mason is so impressive. He is the most talented QB on the roster now. He just has to go out there and play like. If he does what he did in High School, 72% accuracy, lots of touchdown’s, very few interceptions, it will be hard to keep him off the field. If Murray starts out #1, but gets injured again, like he has the last 2 seasons, you have to think Mason’s in. But Mason won’t be waiting on an injury to get in, he’ll be scroing, and protecting the ball. His size and accuracy and td to int ratio set him apart from Murray, Murray has become interception prone in all the Spring scrimmages, so if Mason can score, be accurate, and not throw interceptions, he’ll be hard to keep off the field.

brick

April 19th, 2010
9:03 am

Hiveredtech, where is he wrong? He is getting his college education paid for in return for his being on the football team. How exactly is Frank’s response foolish as you claim. Dwyer was at a higher risk than most backs because of the fakes he has to carry out and he absorbs the same punishment he does when he gets the ball, which total abotu 75% of Tech’s offensive plays. Him wanting a professional contract before he was injured isn’t looking out for himself? As a WR, Thomas was looking to block all the time, he is going to be an NFL WR, Tech was doing nothing to help his developement as an NFL receiver so he left, Was Thomas thinking about Tech’s 10 team or security for himself? Burnette just wanted out and got out as soon as he could. But they all just loved and wanted the best for Tech, right?

3Dawgknight

April 19th, 2010
9:12 am

hiveredtech:

Surely you understand his meaning.
He is recieving a scolarship, therefore he has an obligation to the school.
Also I think he was saying that every college player is on their own,
grown up, & must ‘look’ out for themselves.
C’mon get a grip.
Yawl didn’t want him anyway, he’s not suited to run that hybrid
pseudo offense, no offense, that y’all run.

no dog

April 19th, 2010
9:13 am

Sounds a lot like uga finds themselves without an SEC level QB on campus.

Dubose

April 19th, 2010
9:17 am

Keep the redshirt on Mason. No need to blow a year on this kid like we did with Brown last year. Murray and Gray will be enough.

flip

April 19th, 2010
9:20 am

hiveredtech got biooootch slapped with some realities!!! Mind you this criticism is coming from a fan of a school that is known for their one and doners in hoops. Typical moronic, hypocritical tool fan!!!!

Bulldog59

April 19th, 2010
9:22 am

Stop the bickering children and stay on point….our clear #1 QB is now a guy who bared resemblance to Joe Cox a couple of times during the G-Day game, and that is a real cause for concern. If Logan Gray could challenge for #1, he would have beaten out JC last year. Aaron Murray needs to get up to speed in a hurry. If Murray falters, Mason won’t even be considered until mid-season. Still curious about the ZM details. There must be something REALLY bad in there for CMR to boot this kid like this.

Gaines

April 19th, 2010
9:22 am

hiver is just pissed that his golden boy, Dwyer, failed the NFL draft drug screening. Shocking!!!

Matt the Brave

April 19th, 2010
9:23 am

You know, there is a bit of wisdom in his ‘look out for yourself’, even if y’all don’t see it. When you’re out and about on the town before you’re 21 and decide to drink for whatever reason, you had better be watching out for yourself. It’s not going to be Coach Richt you have to worry about at that time, it’s the law. I just hope that this kid realizes the mistakes of others and decides to be discreet and/or not do anything stupid like what Mettenberger did.

Nawls

April 19th, 2010
9:24 am

This is great news. Addition by subtraction. No God awful, and undeserved, QB rotation to worry about like how Richt burdened Greene with for 3 f’n years.

Monticello Dawg

April 19th, 2010
9:25 am

no dog, Aaron Murray fooled some of the top coaches in the country into believing he was a top quarterback prospect. The people that run the Elite Eleven quarterback camp thought he was up there with Matt Barkley of USC fame. If Murray is not an SEC level QB, Urban Meyer must not be a good judge of talent, as the Gators had Murray at the top of their recruiting wish list.

R.A.

April 19th, 2010
9:25 am

Why redshirt this kid, you red shirt Blue Chip players if needed. Unless every one gets hurt by time he becomes a Senior he will be over recruited..Why is this a story because Mettenberger is gone doesnt help Mason at all..

Jim in Ga

April 19th, 2010
9:27 am

no dog,

Maybe you’ve heard of a guy named Aaron Murray? He is the SEC level QB that you think the Dawgs lack.

Jim in Ga

April 19th, 2010
9:29 am

My only concern about Mason is a guy that benefitted a lot from the system that Lassiter runs.

ehhhhhh

April 19th, 2010
9:32 am

Hate to say it, but if the Dawgs ever have to rely on this kid to be the guy, they might as well hang it up. This kid would have been a great D 1-AA player. Not real sure he can play with the big boys in the SEC. But, then again neither could Joe Cox. Murray will be the guy for the next few years and Logan Gray will keep calling fair catches. Mason won’t have a chance to see the field until he is a senior, if he is lucky.

R.A.

April 19th, 2010
9:33 am

Exactly Jim in Ga, he has benefited from the spread system and a lot of screen and short passes which turned into big games…Which is going to limit his interceptions and pad his stats..But when he played a team that understood that system he threw 5 interceptions against colquitt. The people wanting him to be the QB at UGA are not Dawg fans they are Mason fans..

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
9:36 am

Jim, if you actually watched the G day game what did you see in Murray to make you believe he is an SEC level QB? He is short and slow and threw a stupid pick because he couldnt see over his line. UGA is in deep poop if he beats Gray out and maybe even if Gray wins the job.

ratdawg

April 19th, 2010
9:45 am

RUN THE BALL!!!! Maybe this QB situation will force UGA coaching staff to run the ball first and pass only out of necessity. We have the talent returning on offense to run effectively. QB will benefit from defenses coming up to stop the run.

bp

April 19th, 2010
9:46 am

cocky lil SOB – I hope the D hears this and lights him up his 1st snap in a scrimmage

Fez

April 19th, 2010
10:05 am

Laughing out loud at idiots,

Just curious, but who is your team???

BurningRedBleedingBlack

April 19th, 2010
10:06 am

We’ll be fine at QB. My guess is Mett lied to Richt about what happend. Mason will be a great qb for us, right now he needs to learn and stay in shape and keep his grades up. There is some good things about this mett incident. Murray and Gray will both get more time practing time alone, instead of spliting among three qb’s. It makes things that much easier.

Q

April 19th, 2010
10:06 am

bp –

I’m pretty sure the D won’t be allowed to hit him since he’s a QB

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
10:07 am

I think this insures that Gray will not move to receiver even if Murray wins the job because with Murrays injury record, It would put a true Freshman behind center if he went down.

JamminDawg

April 19th, 2010
10:07 am

Nawls,

Best post of the day by far. Addition by subtraction. Brilliant points.

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
10:09 am

I’m a fan of the best team in the entire universe. The University of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets dominate the world.

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
10:18 am

Jackets actually suck. They wouldn’t be bowl eligible if they were still in the SEC.

irony

April 19th, 2010
10:23 am

To LOL @ idiots: that is great that you are a fan of the wreck from North Avenue but you should probably note that it is the Georgia Institute of Technology, not as you believe The University of Georgia Tech

Flo-Ri-Duh!

April 19th, 2010
10:24 am

Tech dominates nothing but B.S. on the vent!

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
10:26 am

Irony, that was an imposter who said that, Tech is a top flight engineering scholl but suck at sports.

irony

April 19th, 2010
10:33 am

fair enough. i hear they’re pretty good at math and excuse making.

Jim in Ga

April 19th, 2010
10:33 am

LOL @ idiots,

You can’t watch one spring game and think a kid doesn’t have talent. The only thing you can see from a QB is mobility and arm strength. I have seen his state championship game and saw a tremendous QB though.

Delbert D.

April 19th, 2010
10:47 am

How about comparison to McElroy at Bama? If Murray “bears a resemblance” to him, Georgia will be fine. Mason needs the redshirt year for making adjustments, IMHO. Lassiter ran an offense based almost entirely on passing.

Santa Cruz CA Dawg

April 19th, 2010
10:51 am

One word REDSHIRT.

Paddy

April 19th, 2010
10:54 am

The sky is not falling!! We have quality qb’s and if the coaches get busy and do their best job coaching this season; the Dawgs will win many, many games. And pls don’t put any stock in that statement about college players being only out for themselves. I am sure when he is asked about that comment from the media he will explain exactly what he means. My guess it was intended to be a positive remark! He is only 18 remember. Did you or your kids ever need to explain something that may not have come out exactly the way it was intended?

jasont13

April 19th, 2010
10:54 am

I just love arm chair QB’s who probably never played the position and or coached, especially at the college level. Richt knows what he is doing and I seriously doubt Mason will be the starter. Murray will be the starter, there is a reason Urban Meyer wanted this kid really bad.

jasont13

April 19th, 2010
10:56 am

Did someone really post that Murray is slow? He runs a 4.5 40. That is not slow by any means.

Bo

April 19th, 2010
11:02 am

Mett must’ve really done something bad to get the boot. Possibly the worst thing about losing him is the lack of tough competition to make Murray work hard to win the #1 job (sorry Logan). Neither guy had the job locked up and I liked the prospect of Murray and Mett working extra hard during the summer to try and be the guy.

As for Hutson, I went to Lassiter and would like to see him get the job. However, you’ve got to think that the preseason won’t give him enough time to get his feet under him. I just hope the opener gets ugly fast so all 3 guys can play.

goldwreck

April 19th, 2010
11:32 am

Somebody said they wanted to know what was up.If there is any truth to ZM being dismissed for a sexual offense I’d say they should be able to figure out what was up.

ATL XMAN

April 19th, 2010
11:44 am

guys…Murry was rated a TOP 3 qb in the nattion..he will be fine and so will UGA quit worring about nothing …Metts was going to be a great back up where now UGA will have a good back up..Murry also beat USC young QB at all the nike camps. Barkly would have loved to have been red shirted last year but because sanchez left early and he was thrown to wolves…mark richt and company will have Murry ready..no doubt..

just be glad that UGA is not in the same boat as techs qb problems..= )

TuckDAWG

April 19th, 2010
11:47 am

From what i hear Mett was definatley dismissed for pulling up a bartenders skirt that fateful night which may result in some kind of sexual battery charge. Mind you just what i hear from insiders

DawgBuzz

April 19th, 2010
12:13 pm

Hutson Mason won’t see the field unless the other two end up injured. Well, this really sucks. So much for the coming season. Mettenberger had come such a long way since last year. The guy took care of the ball. He out passed the other two easily. This guy was a perfect fit for a pro style offense. Logan looked average, Murray never did impress me.

Laughing out loud at idiots

April 19th, 2010
12:28 pm

ATL XMAN, no doubt mark richt and company DID NOT have him ready at G Day.