Aaron Murray in November 2011
|Georgia Bulldogs — No. 11|
|Date of birth:November 10, 1990|
|Place of birth: Tampa, Florida|
|Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)||Weight: 208 lb (94 kg)|
|High school: Tampa (FL) Plant|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at ESPN.com|
Murray was raised in Florida, the son of Lauren and Dennis Murray. His father is Catholic and his mother is Jewish.
In 2008, under the combined leadership of Murray and Phillip Ely (a sophomore who came in for a stretch of seven games when Murray was injured), The Plant High Panthers won 14 games in a row after a close opening day loss. The Panthers continued to the state championship finally defeating Tallahassee Lincoln 34-14 in route to their 2nd title in three years.
Murray received 53 scholarship offers, and during his senior season he completed 118-of-195 passes for 2,285 yards and 33 touchdowns with five interceptions. The senior rushed for 257 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns. He participated in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on the same East team with Clemson Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd.
Murray was named Hillsborough co-offensive player of the year along with teammate and favorite target, wide receiver Orson Charles. Voted All-Suncoast First Team. He was also voted the 4A Player of the Year therefore making him a finalist and leading contender for Florida's Mr. Football of 2008. Murray was named Parade All-American, Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern Top 12 Players SE, Press-Register's Super Southeast 120 (#10), and FSWA All-State first team quarterback.
Murray redshirted during his freshman season because of an injured shoulder he suffered that fall as Georgia managed an 8-5 record and went 4-4 in the SEC under the leadership of senior quarterback Joe Cox.
With fellow freshman quarterback Zach Mettenberger transferring to LSU, Murray took over as Georgia's starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman. With star player wide receiver A.J. Green, receiving a 4-game suspension from the NCAA for selling his jersey during the spring, Murray faced the difficulty of leading Georgia into the 2010 campaign without his No. 1 receiver. The end result was a brutal 1-4 start as Georgia dropped four consecutive games starting with a 17-6 road loss on September 4 with South Carolina and ending with an October 2 road trip to Colorado as their linebacker B.J. Beatty forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter that resulted in a Buffaloes' 29-27 victory.
However, the Tampa, Fla. native was resilient as Georgia reeled off five wins in their next six contests, including routs of Tennessee (41-14), Vanderbilt (43-0), and Kentucky (44-31). On October 9, Murray threw the ball with precision going 17-of-25 for 266 yards with two touchdowns and also rushed for 41 yards and two more touchdowns against the Volunteers. On October 16, Murray exploited Vanderbilt's secondary, going 15-of-24 passing for 287 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 36 yards against the Commodores. At Lexington, Ky. on October 23, Murray was 9-of-12, passing the ball for 113 yards as teammate Washaun Ealey ran 28 times for 157 yards, and scored five touchdowns as Georgia built a 44-25 lead in the fourth quarter.
Georgia finished the season facing tough opposition including BCS National Champion Auburn (14-0) and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton along with the 8-5 Florida Gators. The 34-31 overtime loss to Florida on October 30 may have been Murray's most memorable performance for his redshirt freshman year as the Gators went up 21-7 at the half. The Bulldogs' signal caller rallied Georgia as coach Mark Richt's team exploded in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns including two Murray touchdown passes and a 1-yard run by Ealey that tied the score at 31-31. Murray was 18-for-37 passing the ball for 313 yards with three touchdowns against Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. On November 13, Murray completed 15-of-28 passes for 273 yards with three touchdowns against Auburn—even taking a 21-7 lead at the half and a 31-28 lead in the third quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Unfortunately, Newton proved to be too much as he finished with four touchdowns, 151 rushing yards, and 148 more yards off 12-of-15 passing attempts as Auburn won the game, 49-31.
Murray finished the season well, as the redshirt freshman guided the Georgia Bulldogs to a 6-6 regular season record after starting out 1-4. The 6-1, 206-pound dual threat quarterback defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech, 42-34, on November 27. Murray threaded the needle going 15-of-19 passing the ball for 271 yards with three touchdown passes including a 66 yarder thrown to wide receiver Kris Durham in the first quarter. This win against the Rambling Wreck also helped Georgia to become bowl eligible. The team was invited to play in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn. on December 31 against Central Florida, a game lost to Central Florida to end Georgia's season 2010 at 6-7.
In the 2010 season, Murray accomplished quite a bit. He set a UGA freshman record with 3,049 passing yards in 13 games. This placed him second in the SEC with the most yards passing by a freshman. More records set or broken by the Tampa native include his 3,216 total offensive yards as a freshman that is a University of Georgia school record and ranks as No. 2 in SEC history. Murray also tied D.J. Shockley (2005) by scoring 28 total touchdowns in a single season. His 24 passing touchdowns is tied for second in UGA history for a single season. Murray's pass efficiency rating of 154.48 ranked as No. 14 nationally and No. 4 in the SEC. He was listed as third highest in the SEC averaging 234.5 yards passing per contest. Murray was ranked No. 4 in total offense in the SEC with 274.4 yards a game.
Murray's redshirt sophomore year started off slowly. Either by design, with a very tough early season schedule, or due to the chemistry of a lot of young talent needing to mesh and gel, Georgia began 2011 with an 0-2 start with losses to nationally ranked No. 5 Boise State in the Georgia Dome and nationally ranked No. 12 South Carolina at home. The 35-21 loss to the Broncos on September 4 came against a senior-laden Boise State team, while the 45-42 loss to the Gamecocks a week later saw Murray play one of his finest games as a Bulldog, going 19-for-29 passing for 248 yards and four touchdowns. However, three UGA turnovers and a 68 yard fake punt touchdown run by South Carolina's 6-2, 276-pound senior Melvin Ingram proved to be too much for Georgia to overcome.
With the whole season in jeopardy, the magic began for the University of Georgia as coach Richt's football team went on a dominating march (during the regular season) through the college football landscape. Murray was largely responsible for the surge as the Bulldogs won 10 games in a row that lifted them to a 10-2 record, a No. 12 ranking nationally by the AP College Football Poll, and a first place ranking in the SEC East—which placed UGA in the SEC Championship Game on December 3.
Right away, Murray's passing game was high flying as he accounted for four touchdowns in a 59-0 drubbing of visiting Coastal Carolina on September 17. Murray hit on 18-of-26 pass attempts for 188 yards against the Chanticleers.
The 6-1, 211-pound quarterback coasted through the first half of the schedule with wins against Ole Miss, Miss. State, and Tennessee that were all low scoring games. Georgia beat Mississippi, 27-13, while Murray connected on 17-of-26 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns on September 24. Next, Murray threw two touchdown passes in UGA's 24-10 win over Miss. State on October 1 as the Tampa, Fla. native and teammate Isaiah Crowell accounted for 264 yards of offense at home. The October 8 game at Knoxville, Tenn. had place kicker Blair Walsh connecting on 35- and 23-yard field goals in the first half as two Crowell touchdown runs completed Georgia's 20-12 win against the Volunteers. Murray safely executed the passing game completing 15-of-25 passes for 227 yards against Tennessee.
The next two contests would become major hurdles for Murray's Bulldogs as Georgia had to escape in road matchups with Vanderbilt and Florida. The Vanderbilt game in Nashville, Tenn. went right down to the wire as punter Drew Butler unknowingly grabbed the one Vanderbilt player who had the football out of a host of Commodore defenders that surrounded Georgia's senior kicker. Butler's successful tackle following a Vandy blocked punt late in the fourth quarter resulted in a Georgia 33-28 victory as Murray finished the contest with 22-of-38 passes for, at the time, a career high 326 yards and three touchdowns — including a 75 yarder to wide receiver Marlon Brown. In Jacksonville, Fla., Georgia fell behind 17-3 in the 2nd quarter but roared back to claim a 24-20 victory over the Florida Gators on October 29. Murray was 15-of-34 for 169 yards and two fourth down touchdown passes.
The month of November belonged to the Georgia Bulldogs as Murray and company reeled off four wins against solid teams in New Mexico State, Auburn, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech. The New Mexico State game on November 5 had Murray putting on a show as he completed 18-for-23 passes for 238 yards and five touchdowns including a 47 yarder to wide receiver Chris Conley and a 42 yarder to cornerback/wide receiver Brandon Boykin in the win in Athens, Georgia. The Auburn game on November 12 was never close as Georgia enjoyed solid performances from Crowell (24 rushes, 132 yards) and Murray (completed 14-of-18 passes for 224 yards and four touchdowns) as the Bulldogs won, 45-7. The home game with the Kentucky Wildcats on November 19 turned into a challenge when starting running back Crowell left early with an ankle sprain. However, Murray picked up the slack by completing 16-of-29 passes for 162 yards, and that included a seven-yard touchdown pass thrown to Marlon Brown in the fourth quarter that put the game out reach as Georgia won, 19-10. Murray's next conquest would come against in-state rival Georgia Tech (8-5) on November 26 as the sophomore threaded the needle completing 19-of-29 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns as the Bulldogs won, 31-17. The victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia completed the Georgia Bulldogs' 10-game winning streak.
Murray faced difficult opposition to end the season. In the SEC Championship game on December 3 and the Outback Bowl on January 2 Georgia was pitted against two elite programs, number 1 ranked LSU and 12th-ranked Michigan State. At the Georgia Dome, the Bulldogs got off to a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and held a 10-7 lead at the half against the 12-0 LSU Tigers. However, the second half was all LSU as the Bayou Bengals won the contest, 42-10. With running back depth being an issue, Murray was forced to step up and play big as he completed 16-of-40 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the loss. The last game of the season was played against 10-3 Michigan State in Tampa, Fla. in the Outback Bowl. It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs as Georgia jumped out to a 16-0 lead early only to have the Spartans storm back and tie the score at 27-27 to send the game into overtime. Michigan State won the contest 33-30 in a third overtime. Murray completed 20-of-32 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns in the overtime loss.
Following the completion of the regular season, Murray gained honors from The Associated Press on December 5, 2011 as it released its All-SEC football team listing him as the second team quarterback.
Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs finished the season ranked #5 nationally after they got past #16 Nebraska, 45-31, in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2013. The 6-0⅜, 211-pound redshirt junior threw 5 TD passes and for 427 yards off 18-of-33 passing attempts against the Cornhuskers as Georgia ran its record to a lofty 12-2 while winning the SEC Eastern Division for a 2nd year in a row.
With expectations rising after a successful 10-4 campaign in 2011, their rising star, junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, had the difficult task of convincing Georgia's talented seniors on defense—John Jenkins (6-3, 363-pounds, DT), Sanders Commings (6-2, 217-pounds, CB), Branden Smith (5-11, 176-pounds, CB), Bacarri Rambo (6-0, 218-pounds, FS), Shawn Williams (6-1, 220-pounds, SS), Abry Jones (6-3, 309-pounds, DE), and Cornelius Washington (6-4, 269-pounds, DE)—to resist the NFL for one more season. Those athletes stayed in school as this enabled Murray and Georgia to make another run in the SEC East as the Bulldogs made it back to the Georgia Dome again, but this time to face coach Nick Saban's powerful, then-ranked #2 Alabama on December 1, 2012.
Right off the bat, Georgia raced to a quick 4-0 start in September off blowout wins over Buffalo, Missouri, Florida Atlantic, and Vanderbilt. After crushing Buffalo, 45-23, Georgia blasted Missouri on the road the very next week, 41-20. Murray started off slowly but finished with 258 yards passing and three TDs against Buffalo on September 1, 2012. His accuracy was much better in the following week at Columbia, Mo. (22-of-35 passing for 242 yards with three TDs) as senior wide receiver Marlon Brown pitched in by catching a game high 9 receptions for 124 yards to overwhelm the Missouri Tigers—who were brand new to the SEC Conference that year.
Two home wins on the 15th and 22 September against over-matched Florida Atlantic and Vanderbilt gave Murray more opportunities to shine as he did—completing 14 of his 19 passes for 342 yards and 2 TDs against FAU (Georgia won this game, 56-20) and connecting on 18-of-24 passing attempts, good for 250 yards and two more scores versus Vandy. The Georgia Bulldogs surprised Vanderbilt, 48-0, in Athens, Ga. as coach James Franklin's Commodores would still go on to finish a successful campaign at 9-4.
Coach Mark Richt's and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's next test came against the Tennessee Volunteers at home as Georgia's troubles with the Vols foreshadowed an event that was yet to come with the date of October 6 looming versus the then undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks. Georgia slipped past scrappy Tennessee, 51-44, on September 29, but gave up 478 total yards of offense in the process. Sanders Commings came up with one of his two picks late in the contest to the seal the win for the Bulldogs as Murray got help from two true freshman running backs in Keith Marshall (10 rushes, 164 yards and 75- and 72-yard TD runs) and Todd Gurley (24 rushes, 130 yards and 3 TDs that including one rush of 51 yards for a score). Murray was 19 of 25 passing the ball for 278 yards and two TDs against the Vols. His touchdown passes were of 8 and 32 yards both thrown to wide receiver Michael Bennett, who was unfortunately lost for the season to an ACL injury at practice 4 days later.
The season nearly hit a turning point in the year, changing directions for the worse, when Georgia faced quarterback Connor Shaw, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, and head coach Steve Spurrier's 11-2 South Carolina Gamecocks (fifth-ranked in the country) in Columbia, S.C. a week later. The Gamecocks took control early and led 21-0 in the first quarter as Shaw scored on 2 TD passes while South Carolina's return man, Ace Sanders, took a punt 70 yards for a score. With Murray only passing for 109 yards and no touchdowns, Georgia never gathered its composure offensively until the game's final drive when running back Ken Malcome ran hard, rushing 5 times for 45 yards. He scored on a 3-yard TD run to make it a 35-7 final score—as the loss would put the Bulldogs behind the eight ball in league play with the SEC Eastern Division.
The remainder of the season turned into a story of redemption for the University of Georgia as Murray led the Bulldogs past Kentucky (October 20), Florida (October 27), Ole Miss (November 3), Auburn (November 10), Georgia Southern (November 17), and Georgia Tech (November 24) on consecutive weekends to finish the regular season. Murray and the Bulldogs locked up the SEC East as its division leader when they received help from South Carolina which suffered from two road losses to SEC opponents, LSU and Florida, on back-to-back weekends.
At Lexington, Ky., Murray displayed tremendous accuracy going 30-of-38 passing the ball for 427 yards and four TDs. He hit wide receiver Tavarres King for a 66-yard TD pass in the 1st quarter while King and teammate Malcolm Mitchell each caught 9 passes for 188 and 103 yards respectively in Georgia's 29-24 victory over the Kentucky Wildcats.
The next weekend pitted Georgia against an improving Florida Gators football team (ranked No. 2 going into the October 27 matchup; finished season at 11-2) led by coach Will Muschamp down in Jacksonville, Fla. Murray and the Bulldogs overcame a sloppy first half after going up 7-0 off a Todd Gurley 10-yard touchdown run. It took an interception inside Georgia's end zone by safety Bacarri Rambo at the end of the half at EverBank Field to preserve a 7-6 UGA lead. With Georgia leading 10-9 late in the game, Murray hooked up with wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell on third-and-5 for a 45-yard TD pass—which put the game out of reach as the Bulldogs claimed a 17-9 decision, giving them sole possession of the lead in the SEC Eastern Division. Murray went 12 of 24 for 150 yards passing and a TD during the contest.
In the games that followed—all in November—Georgia put their season on cruise control as the Bulldogs rolled past Ole Miss, Auburn, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech beginning on November 3 and finishing out on November 24 when UGA blasted the Yellow Jackets, 42-10. Georgia played Ole Miss at home as the Rebels took a 10-0 lead in the 2nd quarter off Bo Wallace's 13-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Mosley. The Bulldogs responded by scoring 37 unanswered points as Murray was the catalyst by scoring four of Georgia's five TDs. He threw a 66-yard TD pass to Marlon Brown, a 40 yarder to King, a 42 yarder to Mitchell, and a 23-yard TD pass to Rantavious Wooten to complete the rout. Murray threw all over the Rebels as he was 21 of 28 for 384 passing yards.
Next, Georgia traveled to face embattled Auburn as the Bulldogs grabbed a 28-0 lead by halftime. Murray opened up the game with three touchdown passes of 6, 5, and 17 yards to three different receivers. Running back Keith Marshall added the finishing touches in the third quarter with a 62-yard TD run to give Georgia its 38-0 victory. Murray was solid going 18 of 24 passing the ball for 208 yards against the Tigers.
UGA finished out its regular season by knocking off two schools that ran the option as Georgia defeated Georgia Southern in a lopsided contest, 48-14, on November 17 and then got past the Rambling Wreck in Athens, Ga. by limiting Georgia Tech's quarterbacks' Tevin Washington and Vad Lee to a combined 120 passing yards. Murray threw the ball very well against Georgia Southern (18 of 28 passing for 330 yards and 4 TDs) and was consistent against the Yellow Jackets (14-of-17 passing for 215 yards with 2 TDs) in these victories over in-state rivals.
On December 1, No. 3 ranked Georgia (11-1) reached the SEC Championship Game to face its nemesis in archrival Alabama (11-1) which was ranked No. 2 in the country. Murray played his best when the game was on the line as he came up just five yards short of winning the championship contest as his final pass, which was intended for Malcolm Mitchell in the end zone, was instead deflected by Alabama's linebacker C.J. Mosley as the errant misplaced football fell into the hands of a falling Chris Conley who successfully made the catch but had lost his balance and was promptly tackled in the field of play at the five-yard line. The remaining seconds ticked off the game clock as the Alabama Crimson Tide (who held on to win the slugfest, 32-28) went on to become the 2012 SEC Champion—and later on, the 2013 BCS Champion after they defeated Notre Dame, 42-14, in Miami, Fla. on January 7, 2013.
Murray had opened up the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jay Rome, but Alabama's Eddie Lacy answered with a 41-yard TD run to tie the game at 7-7 in the 2nd quarter. The Crimson Tide held a 10-7 lead at halftime. It appeared that Georgia had stolen the momentum by taking a 21-10 lead when a blocked field goal resulted in Georgia's Alec Ogletree racing 55 yards with the pigskin for a score, but Alabama punished the Bulldogs' defense by gaining 350 yards on the ground as Lacy finished with 181 rushing yards while true freshman T.J. Yeldon ran for 153 more. Murray ended the game with an 80-yard drive in eight plays down to Alabama's 5-yard line as he only had 1:08 left of time to work with. The key play in the drive was his 26-yard pass to Georgia's lumbering tight end, Arthur Lynch, as the 6-5, 272-pound junior dragged Alabama defenders with him to the Crimson Tide 8-yard line. Murray was 18-of-33 for 265 yards passing and a TD in the contest.
Following the loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, Georgia was invited to the Capital One Bowl to face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-3) in Orlando, Fla. Murray had an outstanding afternoon by throwing for 427 yards and five touchdowns. He received help from freshman running back Todd Gurley who ran for 125 yards on 23 carries as Georgia overcame a 31-23 deficit to prevail over the Cornhuskers by two touchdowns. Murray ended the game with a 24-yard touchdown pass to running back Keith Marshall and an 87-yard TD pass to Chris Conley in the fourth quarter.
Murray enjoyed excellent success during his redshirt junior season at the University of Georgia as the Bulldogs finished at 12-2 and as SEC Eastern Division Champions. He had a victory in a bowl game with his win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Numbers wise, it was Murray's best season by far as he completed 249-of-386 passes for 3,893 yards with 36 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a solid pass efficiency rating of 174.82. He also set individual career records. Against Kentucky (October 20, 2012), Murray's 73rd career TD gave him the UGA record, breaking David Greene's record set from 2001–04. And then against Alabama in the 2012 SEC Championship Game, he broke Peyton Manning's career touchdown record which was 89. Murray now has 95 touchdown passes for his career at UGA.
On November 9, at the homecoming game vs Appalachian State, Aaron Murray completed touchdown passes 114 and 115 to tie and break the all-time SEC career passing touchdown record previously held by Florida QB Danny Wuerffel (1993-1996). On October 19, he completed a 7 yard pass to Arthur Lynch and passed Tim Tebow to become the SEC's all-time leading passer. On November 23, 2013 Murray tore his ACL in the left knee on a non-contact play during Senior Night for Georgia at Sanford Stadium. Prior to the ACL injury, Murray surpassed 3,000 yards for the season. This makes him the first SEC quarterback to pass for 3,000 yards per year in four seasons.
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