Hutson Mason bides his time as Georgia’s ‘QB-in-waiting’

Hutson Mason hasn't played much during his three seasons in Athens, but the Bulldogs like what they've seen. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Hutson Mason hasn't played much during his three seasons in Athens, but the Bulldogs like what they've seen. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — There has been much debate at the end of 2012 about whether or not Aaron Murray will – or should – turn pro after the season concludes. But there has been no debate whatsoever about who will play quarterback for Georgia if and when Murray makes that jump.

Hutson Mason is unchallenged as the Bulldogs’ heir apparent. In fact, so set is the plan for succession, there is no need for the word “apparent.” Better to call him “QB-in-waiting.”

So confident are Georgia’s coaches and players in Mason’s abilities, they speak of him in the same reverent tones as a seasoned starter.

“When he gets the opportunity he’s going to make some plays, I have no doubt about that,” junior tight end Arthur Lynch said of the 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback. “I’m positive about that and I think Aaron would be the first to tell you that as well. I think there are a lot of SEC schools that could use him as a starter right now and a lot of other schools elsewhere in the southeast like the ACC. Wait ‘til you see him.”

Murray concurred.

“Hutson’s a great quarterback,” Georgia’s three-year starter said. “He’s worked his tail off. He’s been here three years; he’s learned the playbook, his footwork, his progressions. Obviously he hasn’t been able to get the snaps this year, but . . . Hutson is ready to go, and he’s a very capable quarterback.”

Nevertheless, Mason hasn’t gotten a snap all year. In fact, thanks to Murray’s ability – and durability – Mason has played very little in his first three seasons ((8 games, 356 yards passing, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions). But he has so completely impressed the Bulldogs’ coaches in practices that they literally did not need to see any more of him in games this past season.

Grudgingly at first, Georgia coaches accepted Mason’s request to be redshirted so he could build a year of eligibility between himself and Murray, who’s also a junior. At this stage, it is clear that the record-setting Murray is not going to be unseated and there simply hasn’t been enough snaps left over to waste another season of eligibility for Mason.

But now Mason knows he he’ll have a senior season all to himself regardless of what Murray decides. And it sounds as though the Bulldogs could make a concerted effort to get Mason more work next season even if Murray returns.

“I think Hutson certainly deserves to play,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I mean, he’s earned the right to play. Managing that will be another whole question. But is he ready to play and has he earned the right to play? I’d say yes. To sit here and try to say what all that’s going to look like, I wouldn’t get into that.”

As for Murray’s decision, Richt said he hasn’t had a conversation yet with him but plans to soon.

“Sometimes you’ll have that conversation before the (bowl) game; it just depends on where the guy’s at,” Richt said. “But if Aaron’s decision is to play the game then do all the thinking and soul-searching and all that kind of stuff, we’ll definitely sit down and talk. We’ll just kind of lay it out there as far as the history of the draft and why there would be an advantage to staying and why it would there be a thought to go and all that.”

Georgia’s prospects on offense could be incentive for both quarterbacks to play for the Bulldogs next season. Other than receivers Marlon Brown and Tavarres King, who are graduating, the entire starting unit will be back.

The Bulldogs have been down this road before, most notably from 2003-2005, when the careers of David Greene and D.J. Shockley overlapped. Greene remained the primary starter until he graduated and left as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history (since unseated). Shockley got regular playing time as Greene’s backup, then took over as the undisputed starter as a senior. He led the Bulldogs’ to the 2005 SEC Championship.

“I think it worked out well,” said Shockley, who recently retired from professional football and is living and working in Atlanta. “Once I made the decision to stay, I vowed not to have any regrets. I wasn’t going to backtrack to say, ‘what if.’ I was like, ‘I’ve made this decision. Now I’m going to go with it whether it works out for the best or it doesn’t.’ If I’d have left and gone somewhere, there’s no telling what would’ve happened. So I feel good about the decision.”

Shockley said he was extremely close to transferring to Florida State or Maryland after his sophomore season with the Bulldogs. But he opted to remain in Athens and shared time with Greene in a semi-regular rotation in which he’d play every third series, depending on the flow of a particular game.

It’s no wonder then that Mason, when he was just about at his wit’s end last year and was seriously considering transferring from Georgia, made a call Shockley.

“He called me trying to get some insight,” Shockley said. “Basically I didn’t tell him one way or another, you should stay or you should go. I told him, ‘you’ve got to make the best decision for you and what you feel most comfortable with.’ I told him if you leave, you can never be sure what you’re going to get. Anything can happen because you’ve got a lot of different variables. When you’re at the University of Georgia, you already know what you’ve got.’”

Mason agreed and decided to stay, but under the pretense of being redshirted. The Bulldogs agreed, but with the understanding it might have to be lifted in the event Murray was injured.

Only once did that seem a possibility. Murray got knocked out in the first half of the Auburn game and walkon Parker Welch came into to relieve him. As it turned out, Murray merely had the breath knocked out of him and returned after one play (throwing a touchdown pass to Tavarres King, no less).

Mason was also the backup plan for the SEC Championship game against Alabama and would have been for a BCS title shot, had it come. But now, as the Bulldogs prepare for a relatively meaningless bowl game against Nebraska, there is no scenario that would alter Mason’s redshirt plans. As a result, coaches scratched him from all media interview requests since he’ll have no part in the bowl game.

But others are happy to speak Mason’s behalf.

“Hutson’s kind of a gunslinger, but not in a way where he throws it carelessly,” Lynch said. “He just has a very quick release and he has a stronger arm than people gave him credit for coming out of high school. He stands in the pocket and he knows how to make plays. There’s a little bit of a swagger about him that makes him kind of special.”

Said Richt: “Guys at all positions get to a certain point where you feel like as a coach they can perform and do well. Hutson has reached that point in his career.”

169 comments Add your comment

1969 Graduate

December 22nd, 2012
11:53 pm

I hope Aaron Murray returns, but it sure is nice to know that we have an excellent young man to replace him should he leave.

Go, Dawgs!

ahscoach

December 22nd, 2012
11:56 pm

We have two great dawgs at Qb

Smitty

December 22nd, 2012
11:57 pm

2013 could be special for Dawgs offense

33 Years and Counting

December 22nd, 2012
11:57 pm

Murray should just enter the draft. He has done as much as he can for Georgia. He has worked very hard, and had some success. Murray is almost done with his second degree as well. It would benefit him to enter the draft since there aren’t a lot of big name QBS this year. He could possibly be a first rounder.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 23rd, 2012
12:00 am

I have a friend who is a grad assistant at Georgia. He told me Mason is solid, but is not the caliber of player in practice that Aaron Murray is. He said “The guy will be a good quarterback when his time comes, but he cant’ make the throws that Aaron can make and he doesn’t have quite the talent.” He also said “LeMay doesn’t know what he’s doing and unless he improves a lot, he’ll never come close to being a starter at Georgia.”

Calistoga Dawg

December 23rd, 2012
12:00 am

Look forward to seeing him play, though performing when the bullets are live is a different animal. Nice to know we have options should Murray decide to leave.

RedandBlackDAWG

December 23rd, 2012
12:02 am

At least, if Murray does decide to stay and were to get hurt, I think I would feel a lot more comfortable with him coming into the game, than I would with Lemay behind center. I don’t think the offense would miss a beat, and either way, I expect the attack will be more balanced than ever next year with our great running game, so Mason wouldn’t feel pressured to have to throw the ball all of the time for UGA to have a chance to win.
Now, I wish we had a similar situation on some of the positions on the defensive side of the ball.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 23rd, 2012
12:06 am

I’m really hoping Aaron returns and I honestly think he will. Nonetheless, I’m happy that it sounds like we have a good backup who could get the job done. And also a 4-star coming in (Brice Ramsey).

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 23rd, 2012
12:09 am

The main thing is, our offensive line needs to improve and I’m glad the o-line coach is making it an open competition. We still need to land a couple more recruits to play on the line though. And of course, we’ve got to replace a lot on defense. And 17-9.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 23rd, 2012
12:12 am

For the Tech, Auburn and Gator trolls that I’m sure will post on this, here’s something to remind you of the 2012 season: 42-10, 38-0, 17-9.

Bill W.

December 23rd, 2012
1:07 am

33 Years and Counting-

Not a lot of big name QB’s this year? Try Matt Barkley, Landry Jones, Tyler Wilson, Colin Klein, Geno Smith, Tyler Bray, All of which will prob be drafted ahead of him because of their arms and prototypical size. Kiper thinks he needs another year and that if he declared this year he would prob be a 3rd round pick. He should stay imo.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
1:14 am

Smitty
December 22nd, 2012
11:57 pm

2013 could be special for Dawgs offense
===============================

you should be tired of saying that after 32 years shouldn’t you?

I think Mason was a fool not to transfer years ago if he believes he is FBS starting QB material.
I think Murray is a fool if he doesn’t go for the NFL money. Look at USC’s Barkley.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
1:20 am

Bill W…………… Murray can’t get taller. His stock is as High as it will be. Playing in college for some records? to risk getting hurt and missing out on 1 NFL contract would be crazy.

Hairy Dawg

December 23rd, 2012
1:27 am

So Hutson Mason will be a slightly better version of Joe Cox? Well, we can compete with that for a season.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
1:32 am

Hairy Dawg….maybe Mason could be the next Tee Martin not not Joe Cox.

white donuts

December 23rd, 2012
1:42 am

Coach has a plan at QB. Thats his specialty. Mason will be the MAN!!!!!

tripptraitorboy

December 23rd, 2012
1:46 am

1:32…..its about team football, isnt it? If not your boy Peyton would have won Natl Champ…lol

slobodan

December 23rd, 2012
1:54 am

Mason can make all the throws Murray can and is actually more accurate; especially the shorter passes to running backs. Murray seldom throws to second and third options. I think Mason will be a step up from Murray in big games.

Neutral

December 23rd, 2012
7:30 am

@put in timeout……
Wow, you really want Murray out of Athens. Could it be that your great advice is self serving because Murray has kicked the $hit out of your favorite team every year? Of course you think he should go pro!!!!

Buzz 2011

December 23rd, 2012
7:35 am

Why weren’t Dogs playing this kid last year
instead of the little choker Murry?

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 23rd, 2012
7:53 am

Neutral…..I could care less which way Murray goes. I know he has his degree. He can’t get taller. Do you really think he will finally win the SEC and play for a National Championship? Can his stock rise much more? Is risking getting hurt worth it over getting at least 1 NFL contract? Matt Barkley is lucky because it could have been worse. If Murray wants his name in the record books for a few year great come back. I hate when players leave early. I hate it because most times those kids didn’t get their degree for the back-up plan. Murray has his back-up plan already in place.

bitter "spoiled recruit"

December 23rd, 2012
8:04 am

MASON HAS ALREADY PROVEN HOW GOOD HE CAN BE—————-BOISE GAME

————–GREAT ARM—–GREAT MIND—–GREAT ATTITUDE

———————-HE WILL BEAT MURRAY IN THE SPRING ANYWAYS

—————-MURRAY SHOULD AVOID BENCH AND CHANCE OF INJURIES

—–A/M HAS PAYED HIS DUES AND PLAYED HIS A$$ OFF THIS YEAR

—–HE HAS FAMILY CONCERNS TO BE THINKING ABOUT NOW—————-DGD

bitter "spoiled recruit"

December 23rd, 2012
8:06 am

TALLER—–JOE MONTANTA WAS 5-11

nobody

December 23rd, 2012
8:07 am

my notion is that neutral” is correct ….that Mason is a “game day” player….

Coach Mike Price

December 23rd, 2012
8:07 am

Hmmm, 6′ 3″ sounds like a lot less tipped passes, just saying!

bitter "spoiled recruit"

December 23rd, 2012
8:09 am

TROLLS VISIT –YOUTUBE AND WATCH MASON HIS SENIOR SEASON AT LASSITER HIGH

Joey

December 23rd, 2012
8:09 am

“Can’t make all the throws,” my ass. I saw him in HS when he was a string-bean 185 lbs, and he could gun it – a “frozen rope.”

Murray was in Athens a full year before Mason – that’s the difference. Not to mention, Murray has gotten better every season, broken all UGA records – even Stafford could not have unseated Murray.

Hutson Mason is the real deal – and you will probably see a QB with 70% or more completion rate. He will be a big deal, even if he starts for only 1 season. His height, accuracy, and quick release make him a prototype NFL QB.

Max Sizemore

December 23rd, 2012
8:14 am

Chip, instead of “under the pretense of being redshirted” you might want “with the proviso that he would be redshirted.”

Franck

December 23rd, 2012
8:22 am

The only thing you need to know about “Choke” Murray: 32-28

zbulldawg

December 23rd, 2012
8:22 am

Mason is a very good QB. He shattered all the high school records in our state. He would complete like 40 out of 55. Alot was short ding ding passes But that’s the kind of offense they ran. The shot gun spread Chunk it every down. He’s VERY accurate & has a real strong arm. When in high school he was like a machine Gun !! someone in the NFL will sneak him in the draft. It will be interesting to see what Murray does. Because Richt will play Mason. People don’t be surprised when Murray goes to the NFL if it dosen’t work out He comes back to UGA as an asst. coach.This s a great problem to have to deal with. I’m just afraid Murray is thinking of everything UGA has coming back on offense & the records he could break. LET THE BIG DAWG EAT

Sunny Cloisters

December 23rd, 2012
8:30 am

The simple unvarnished truth about Murray is that compared with the really great UGA QBs like Fran Tarkenton, Murray is an insignificant blip. In the NFL, he’ ll be hopelessly outclassed, and after a very lackluster year, he’ll be relegated to a practice squad for a year or two, then quietly dropped. Fortunately for Murray, when this happens, he’s intelligent enough to get a real job and support himself and a family, unlike the 90% of his UGA teammates who will end up on welfare or work at menial jobs that don’ t require any intelligence.

Joey

December 23rd, 2012
8:41 am

Right, Sunny, and I bet you know plenty about being a “insignificant blip” . . .

Tarryuga

December 23rd, 2012
8:42 am

Yes, check that height!!! Switch the dial from AM to HM!!!

GO DAWGS!!
SIC’EM!!

bubba4dawgs

December 23rd, 2012
8:43 am

I think UGA’s offense will be fine in 2013, Murray or no Murray! He does have that extra to offer…..more game experience. The rest of the offense, receivers, rb’s and “O” line should be even better. My concern is the defense, top to bottom, especially the “D” line. I see it as an opportunity to improve as they certainly showed a lot of poor play at times. The DAWGS will need to improve their pass rush with new db’s coming in and above all…..stopping the run, akq…….Ala-bam-damuh!

So long to Gardner! Thanks for your contributions at UGA! Sorry, I just can’t wish you luck at Awburn. Just not an Awburn fan except when they play out of conference.

Evuhbody, watch out for Vandy…..they’re coming!!

Spike

December 23rd, 2012
8:43 am

Sunny, who pissed in your cornflakes? Lighten up.

[...] more here: Hutson Mason bides his time as Georgia’s ‘QB-in-waiting’ ← Back to Home Tags: aaron, aaron murray, athens, coaches, confident, end, focal, [...]

Tarryuga

December 23rd, 2012
8:57 am

Columbus Dawg

December 23rd, 2012
9:27 am

I remember Mark Richt’s little speech to the Dawg Nation when he was about to make Joe T. the starter in Stafford’s freshman year, as well as before the Joe Cox year in 2009. They were very similar in nature, and said something to the effect that he thought the Dawg Nation would forgive some less than stellar play while rebuilding took place. Mark Richt no longer enjoys the same sentiments from the Dawg Nation in that regard. He has no one to blame but himself because he has choked big time every time he has been given the chance to accomplish his championship goals at The University of Georgia. If Hutson Mason is the best that a highly ranked UGA team has to offer, then Richt’s future is absolutely in jeopardy. Richt’s problem now, is that will be expected to deliver a championship every year until he achieves the goal, no matter how much talent he has squandered, or how many of his loving players bolt for the NFL before his goal is reached.

I personally believe that Richt will be gone in two years no matter what, and I know he would love a championship before he goes, but he is not capable of achieving these goals because of exactly what the article says. QB in waiting? Mason does not possess the talent necessary to win said championship, but this is not Richt’s first concern. His first concern is that he promised an undeserving player the starting job based on, well actually I am at a huge loss at what is is based on, but Richt will not survive this. I know that all of the writers and bobble heads at that worthless sports channel owned by that worthless network have been silenced on all the hot seat talk because “Ears McGarity” extended his contract, but I happen to know for a fact that there are HUGE boosters that have Richt at the end of their rope, and I have been told that McGarity will not jeopardize his standing as A.D. to protect Richt’s status as head coach. There will be a new president at UGA in 2013, and from what I am hearing he will be more football friendly than the P.O.S. Adams, and when large amounts of revenue is withheld because of an inept football coach, he will be forced to act. The sad part of all of this for the Dawg Nation, is that it will be forced to endure two more years of “Mark Richt Ball”. This is a SHAME.

Sho nuf dawg

December 23rd, 2012
9:33 am

Simply IMO Murray should leave. It’s a bit like 29 leaving. Hight school player playing in Pop Warner more or less. Hutson will be fine. Georgia will be fine. Win, lose or draw. Hell I’m so old I remember back when marijuana was illegal so what do I know.

Dynomite

December 23rd, 2012
9:35 am

When your claim to fame line on the message board is, ” I saw him in HS when he was a string-bean 185 lbs, and he could gun it”, you lose all credibility. THOUSANDS of kids looked good in high school. This guy hasen’t played one meaningful down of Georgia football. Aaron Murray was recruited heavily by the majority of schools, can’t say that for your boy Mason. Mason didn’t have half the offers Murray did for a reason, he just “ain’t” got it and a lot of coaches have seen it hence the lack of offers. This guy will be Joe T IV but I wouldn’t expect you as his Dad to agree with me.

bahits.com

December 23rd, 2012
9:35 am

We also have Bobbo Baggins…. I mean Faton Bauta. I heard he is really good, too. And we have Brice coming in. UGA is doing well at QB.

We need Tunsil on OL and a reloaded Defense.

Go Dawgs!

bahits.com

December 23rd, 2012
9:36 am

I meant Frodo Baggins / Faton Bauta :-)

Joey

December 23rd, 2012
9:43 am

Joey

December 23rd, 2012
9:46 am

Columbus Dawg (9:27), I don’t know about the rest of your post, but you are DEAD WRONG about Hutson Mason.

You couldn’t know less about his skills . . .

Bossdog

December 23rd, 2012
9:46 am

Murray has actually been as bad as you can perform in big games, Murray is something like 1-11 vs. teams that end up top 25 ranked.

And Murray’s numbers against ranked teams, in 2011 & 2011, are about as bad as you can be. It is puzzling why the Georgia coaches think Murray’s so good.

Must be how Murray does against teams with losing records.

Surprised Mason didn’t get rotated in, say every 3rd series this past season if he so good. Makes the promises from Georgia look empty.

Then you have Bryce Ramsey coming in this year, redshirting, he won’t want to sit the bench for 2 years. And if Ramsey turns out to be better than Mason, will Mason ever start a game?

Mason has outplayed Murray every chance he’s had in scrimmages, spring games. No one seems to notice at Georgia.

Coaches are taking Mason for granted, is that smart?

If Murray comes back, will Hutson Mason transfer? I’d love him to stay, but if were him, if Murray comes back, based on how the coaches have ignored him for years so far, I’d leave. We’ll know soon enough.

matt

December 23rd, 2012
9:53 am

If you are Murray why would you come back? He’s lost his entire defense and he already will have his masters degree. They are a 9-3 team if he comes back…and a 5-7 team if he doesn’t. UGA was the only major school to give Mason an offer. Fact is high school secondaries aren’t built to shut down QBs who can throw the ball downfield. Anyone see the kid from Alpharetta High School this year, kid slung it all over the yard every Friday…he’s going to Arizona St. Not exactly top of the line when it comes to football. Hottest cheerleaders maybe though.

Joey

December 23rd, 2012
9:56 am

“Surprised Mason didn’t get rotated in, say every 3rd series this past season if he so good”
*******************************************************
Bossdog, read the article again.

Mason had a redshirt on this season, which they would have taken off if Murray had gotten hurt at any time.

Neutral

December 23rd, 2012
10:04 am

Guys, PLEASE quit quoting Murray’s winning stats against top ranked teams!!!! Last time I looked he beat this year the #2 ranked FL team and nearly beat a Bama team ranked #1 for most of the season. Yes, he could have had a few more shots in the end zone if we had not caught the last pass. By the way, was it AM who gave up 350 yards rushing to Bama? Was it AM last year who failed to tackle the Honey Badger on those punt returns? The answer is HELL NO!!!!! Footbal is a “team sport” and you show your incredible ignorance every time you blog and discuss AM’s record. UGa lost those games……not AM!!!

jalex49

December 23rd, 2012
10:05 am

If Murray decides to stay then Georgia will be ok and if he decides to go Georgia will still be ok, if it’s true that Mason is as good as advertised ?

I feel that with the quality of quarterbacks Georgia has and those that will be coming in Georgia’s qb position is in good hands.

I want any player that plays at Georgia to make a sensible and reasonable decision college vs Nfl matters after considerable soul-searching and consultation with those around him. So best of luck whatever Murray decides on.

To the juniors on Georgia’ team ” 5 yards” ? Best of luck except when they play Georgia -Auburn
to Coach Gardner. Thanks for everything you did and hope you get a head coaching job real soon.

Go Dawgs and thanks for an exciting year ! “Hunker Down” against Nebraska, they are a real good football team.

P.S. A shout out to A. Kamara, Larry Tunsil, Toby Johnson and others that may be considering Georgia.

Neutral

December 23rd, 2012
10:11 am

@Matt,
Hmmmmmm…….Murray also has basically the entire offense returning with about 4-5 new weapons. NO QB in the nation has one of the best offenses returning their team intact!!! Also, I believe we will have a very good defense next year. We have been incredible recruiting great defensive players over the past 3-4 years and we will be just fine…..especially with the best offense in the nation running clock, scoring points and allowing the defense to rest. GO DAWGS!!!!!!